It's been over two years since Apple launched the iPad mini 4, which could well be the last 7.9in tablet Apple ever makes. So if you might be waiting for an iPad mini 5 or 'iPad Pro Mini' it's looking less and less likely there will be one. Here's what the rumours say.

When is the iPad Pro mini release date?

iPad mini 5 / iPad Pro mini UK release date: TBC

On 9 September 2015 Apple unveiled the iPad mini 4. Apple then shook things up a bit in 2016. It had one launch event in March, the WWDC developers conference in June, a second launch event in September, and a third in October.

It didn't announce an iPad Pro mini during any of these events.

In March 2017 the iPad mini 4 got a small update involving only an increase in storage. Since then, though, no new model has been teased for fans of the smaller tablet, including when Apple launched its new 10.5in iPad Pro.

The rumours are all pointing in the same direction: Apple is quietly phasing out the range. One - a BGR source close to Apple - claims that it's the end of the road for the 7.9in tablet. It doesn't say when this might happen though, so it could be more of a long-term plan. It's also unlikely Apple would make an official announcement about discontinuing a product.  The iPad mini 4 is still very much available direct from Apple, as well as John Lewis and Currys.

We've long argued that the 7.9in screen is too small for productivity (and for a matching keyboard cover) so we never really thought an iPad Pro mini would materialise. Apple will probably keep the 'Pro' suffix for the 9.7in, 10.5in and 12.9in models.

How much will the new iPad mini cost in the UK?

Apple tends to keep the price of its iPad mini line-up the same, reducing the price of its previous-generation mini when the new model goes on sale.

So if Apple has managed to keep all leaks under control and surprises the world with an iPad mini launch in 2018, then based on 2015’s iPad mini 4 pricing you could expect an iPad mini 5 to be priced as follows:

• 128GB Wi-Fi: £419
• 128GB Wi-Fi + 4G: £549

We could see a 256GB model, too. We expect that would cost around £499, or £599 with the additional 4G. 

Of course, this is based on it keeping similar specifications and no True Tone screen, quad speakers or compatibility with the Pencil.

What will the new iPad mini be called?

What will the iPad Pro mini look like?

If you're determined not to give up on the idea of an iPad mini 5, then let's take a look at the few rumours about its features and design.

It will likely share the same 7.9in Retina display as the mini 4. Some rumours claim it will be thinner than its predecessor: just 5mm thick.

If the tablet ever materialises, expect Apple to introduce a Rose Gold colour option, as it has done elsewhere in its hardware line-up.

What are the rumoured features?

• 3D Touch: Apple introduced 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, and it’s expected to make its way to the iPad mini line in 2016. 3D Touch is able to register how much pressure is applied to the screen and offer differing options as a result.

• IP68 protection: After the iPhone 7 launch, the possibility of having a water-resistant iPad isn't too far-fetched. We’d love to see IP68 certification in an iPad, but we can’t avoid the feeling this tip may be just wishful thinking.

What are the rumoured specifications?

• Processor: The iPad mini 4 features the Apple A8 processor and M8 motion co-processor. If Apple launches a new model in 2018 expect to see the A11 in the iPad mini 5.

• 128GB storage as standard: The iPad mini 4 was initially offered in 16GB, 64GB and 128GB variants. It can now only be found in 128GB storage size.

• Screen: We doubt Apple will upgrade the screen resolution, because doing so would go against all it said previously about the Retina display. As before expect a 7.9in Retina IPS display, but here with the possible addition of 3D Touch.

• Battery: According to Cult of Mac the iPad mini 5 will feature a smaller-capacity battery in order to fit into 5mm frame, but using improved technology so it doesn’t negatively impact runtime. The iPad mini 4 features a 5,124mAh battery.

• Cameras: No changes are expected here. The new iPad mini will likely feature an 8Mp camera at the rear and 1.2Mp at the front.

• No headphone port: The iPhone 7 ditched the standard 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of the lightning port. As the iPhone has lost the headphone connector, it's a possibility that the new iPad mini will do so also.

• NFC: Although it is possible to use Apple Pay on the iPad mini, doing so isn’t seamless because it doesn’t support NFC. Apple has bitten the bullet with the iPhone; expect it to do the same with the iPad mini.

Other specs, such as the TouchID fingerprint scanner, are likely to remain the same.

For more new iPad mini rumours check out our sister site Macworld.

Follow Marie Black on Twitter.