When Apple unveiled its iPad 3 last year, it was criticised by some for being an incremental update that didn’t really justify the price jump. Now, however, the latest rumours suggest Apple’s next iPad Mini will be more powerful than the last.
The next iPad Mini, which some are speculating will be called the iPad Mini 4, might get a hardware upgrade that allows it to support split-screen apps. 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman and developer Hazma Sood found evidence of this in the beta for El Capitan, Apple’s next software update for the Mac that’s launching this fall.
The beta (an unfinished version of the software meant for testing purposes) contains a resource file from the Safari 9 browser that shows support for split-screen apps on the iPad Mini 3. Another tool in the beta allows developers to test split-screen website designs in Safari on an iPad Mini 3.
This is interesting because the iPad Mini 3 doesn’t support split-screen mode since it runs on Apple’s older A7 processor, as Gurman notes. The only iPad that will support this feature when iOS 9 launches is the iPad Air 2 since it’s powered by Apple’s newer A8x chip.
This leads Gurman and Sood to believe that Apple is working on a new iPad with a processor that can support split-screen functionality. Other than a better processor, the next iPad Mini is rumoured to come with an improved 8-megapixel camera, a thinner design that’s more similar to that of the iPad Air 2, and a fully laminated screen that comes with anti-reflective coating, as MacRumors notes.
These additions could make it a more substantial update than the iPad Mini 3, which only added TouchID and a gold colour option to the iPad line. That means the iPad Mini 3 is basically an iPad Mini 2 with TouchID.
This is also one of few hints that have been found in the beta of El Capitan that supposedly point to new Apple products. In June, Gurman also discovered clues within the software that hinted at a new 21.5-inch iMac with a 4K resolution display and a new Bluetooth remote that could be for the Apple TV.
We won’t know for sure until Apple makes official announcements about its new iPads, but both Sood and Gurman have strong track records when it comes to making predictions about upcoming Apple products.
We’ve reached out to Apple for clarity on why the iPad Air 2 is the only iPad getting split-screen support and whether or not these files in El Capitan have anything to do with upcoming product updates. We’ll update this article accordingly when we hear back.