Exclusive photos of an iPad Mini engineering sample provide a first look at the iPad Mini design and hints at possible iPad Mini features. The new iPad will be the thinnest Apple tablet yet, as one of the photos shows.
Photos of the iPad Mini engineering sample come from a trusted source inside the Apple supply chain, who also provided exclusive iPhone 5 engineering sample photos, which are more detailed.
The early design sample in the below photos is a plastic mold that may be used to hone the production process and test accessories. This would be the first significant update to the iPad design since Apple introduced it in 2010.
iPad Mini Design
The iPad Mini will be a little bit thinner than the current iPad, but it is only about two-thirds the size.
The bottom of the iPad Mini shows the smaller 19-pin dock connector we’ve heard about in earlier rumors for the iPhone 5.
The engineering mockup shows two speakers on either side of the dock connector, where current iPads have only one speaker. The speaker placement could show how Apple plans to change the iPad 3rd generation for a rumored fall refresh. The current iPad speakers are almost rear-facing and easy to cover while holding. By moving the speakers to surround the smaller dock connector and flattening the edge, the iPad Mini may be louder than the current iPad.
While the images don’t show the exact dimensions of the iPad Mini, we used Photoshop in an attempt to measure them. The reading isn’t anywhere near perfect but it provides a glimpse at what to expect from the iPad Mini’s size.
What we’ve found, using a pixel count, is that the iPad Mini should be around 213.36mm tall and about 143.67mm wide. This is approximately two-thirds of the size of the new third-generation iPad. The new iPad is 185.67mm wide, 241.3mm tall, and 9.39mm thick.
Google’s Nexus 7 tablet has a width of 120mm which means that the iPad Mini, if our calculations are close, might be around 23.67mm wider than the Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 tablet measures in at 198.5mm high which means that the iPad Mini may be a little taller than Google’s 7-inch tablet.
iPad Mini Display
The iPad Mini sample doesn’t include markers for the display size, but current rumors suggest that the iPad Mini display will be 7.85-inches.
There are also rumors that point to the iPad Mini as having a IGZO display from Sharp. IGZO stands for indium gallium zinc oxide and it should allow Apple to offer an iPad with a thinner screen featuring better brightness.
Sharp’s IGZO displays can also apparently handle 330 ppi which means that the display on the iPad Mini could very well be a Retina Display. Unfortunately, the images don’t shed any light on the matter.
To get a better feel for the iPad Mini display size, Daring Fireball suggests taking a screenshot of the iPad home display and viewing it with the iPad in landscape mode. When the image shrinks to the rotated display, the image will simulate the iPad Mini display. Gruber also shares a number of ideas regarding the price and use of the iPad Mini.
iPad Mini Rumors
Rumors have pointed to a smaller iPad from Apple for some time, and it appears that the company might finally make good on the rumors this fall.
Most of the current iPad Mini rumors focus on the display size, price and potential release date with analysts and publications like The Wall Street Journal weighing in.
Rumored features of the iPad Mini include:
- A 7.85-inch display with 1024×768 resolution. The display is also rumored to possibly be an IZGO display from Sharp
- $299 iPad Mini price
- October release date alongside the iPhone 5
- 16GB model
And while not specifically rumored, the iPad Mini may come with 4G LTE connectivity for carriers like AT&T and Verizon.