Q. I have an original iPad Mini but some apps crash because it’s an older model. I would like to buy a new Mini because it fits in my handbag, but I understand that Apple may announce a new version in March — or might announce that it will no longer make the Mini. Would you recommend that I wait until I see which way Apple is going to jump, or does someone else make a tablet similar to the Mini?
A. The iPad Mini, Apple’s smaller version of its iPad tablet, was first released in late 2012, but the model has not been updated since 2015 when the iPad Mini 4 arrived. Apple stopped including the first-generation Mini in iOS software updates after iOS 9.3.5. The apps are probably crashing because they are running on obsolete hardware and an outdated version of the operating system, which is currently at version 10.2.1.
Apple is notoriously private about its future products before they are officially announced, which gives Apple-focused blogs and publications plenty to speculate about. While Apple has not yet announced a public media event to introduce new hardware, it did announce new iPad hardware in March 2016, so some industry observers are hoping for a repeat performance next month. Keep in mind that any Apple media event is pure conjecture until the company makes its own statement.
Whenever Apple does get around to holding an event, it could announce an iPad Mini 5, ignore the model and keep the iPad Mini 4 in place, or discontinue the Mini line altogether. While the first two possibilities give you a chance to buy the latest model directly from Apple, if the company drops the Mini from its iPad lineup, you will probably still be able to buy one for a short time from third-party resellers like Amazon or Best Buy — until they deplete their inventories.
Apple’s standard policy gives you 14 days to return an item after you purchase it from the company; other retailers may offer similar terms and may include a restocking fee. If the fear of losing out makes you nervous, you can wait until Apple announces a product unveiling, buy the current iPad Mini right before the announcement — and return the older version if a new one does appear.
If the iPad Mini’s 7.9-inch screen size is your favorite thing about the device, you can still find smaller tablets running different operating systems (usually Android), but you will have to buy new apps to run on the device. The Wirecutter product recommendation site (owned by The New York Times) has tested a selection of Android-based tablets in various screen sizes.