Alleged iPad Mini 6 Case Images Show Redesign With Relocated Volume Buttons For Full-Size Apple Pencil

The upcoming sixth-generation iPad mini will feature volume buttons on the top side of the device to accommodate a full-size Apple Pencil, according to images seemingly from an accessory maker shared by the Twitter user known as “Majin Bu.”

The images purportedly depict the sixth-generation ‌iPad mini‌ with an iPad Air-style all-screen design, featuring squared-off edges, a Touch ID fingerprint scanner in the power button, and no Home Button, as has been previously rumored. The most noticeable change that differentiates the sixth-generation ‌iPad mini‌’s design from that of the iPad Air is the relocation of the volume buttons, with the buttons being moved opposite the ‌Touch ID‌ power button on the top edge of the device. This is an unprecedented ‌iPad‌ design change, with all previous ‌‌iPad‌‌ models to date featuring the volume buttons on the right side of the device.

The main reason for moving the volume buttons appears to be to fit the ‌Apple Pencil‌ on the right edge of the device. The ‌iPad Air‌ and iPad Pro models are able to fit both the volume buttons and a magnetically attached ‌Apple Pencil‌ on the right edge of the device, but this does not seem to be the case on the next-generation ‌iPad mini‌ due to its considerably smaller size. This likely prompted Apple to move the volume buttons elsewhere.

Leaker Jon Prosser‘s renders of the sixth-generation iPad mini suggested that there will not be any change to the device’s buttons, instead proposing that Apple will launch a smaller version of the Apple Pencil to fit on the device’s side, with no need to move the volume buttons as a result.

Relocated volume buttons were depicted in previous images of alleged iPad mini aluminum production molds. Third-party accessory makers often get their hands on accurate dimensions for upcoming devices well ahead of launch to develop the likes of screen protectors and accessories so that they are available as soon as the device is released. Given this is the second appearance of relocated volume buttons from accessory makers, the change may be more likely to be accurate, especially in light of the expected need to accommodate an Apple pencil.

Relocating the volume buttons to the top right of the device could also make sense for larger iPads that are often used in landscape mode and with keyboards, since the user would no longer need to lift their hand up past the display to the top edge of the device to change the volume. In landscape, volume buttons in this new location would be much closer to an external keyboard. It is unknown if the relocated volume buttons will expand to other ‌iPad‌ models for consistency in the future.

The reliable Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman believes that the new ‌iPad mini‌ is on track to be released this fall alongside new MacBook Pro models.

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