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Exclusive: New iPad Mini Engineering Sample Photos

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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.

Read: Apple Planning Biggest Mobile Launch Around iPhone 5

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.

ipad Mini engineering sample thickness

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.

iPad Mini Sample Size Comparison

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.

Read: iPad Mini Would Complete Apple’s Product Lineup

Rumored features of the iPad Mini include:

And while not specifically rumored, the iPad Mini may come with 4G LTE connectivity for carriers like AT&T and Verizon.

Shawn is a tech junkie who spends most of his time reading and writing about it. You can follow him on Twitter, @shawn_i.

23 Comments

  1. ElectricTV

    07/10/2012 at 4:49 pm

    The Mini 3d printed prototype looks like it was made with a “DLP Image Projection 3d Printer”, they print ultra high rez at 1/2 inch per hour.
    3d printers are often used for design prototypes like this Mini shown here.
    You can see one in action here:
    http://www.electrictv.com/?p=15143

  2. WGTui

    07/11/2012 at 12:15 am

    If the message is true,I think it’s really an amazing thing…

    http://www.wgtui.com/2012/07/1792.html

  3. Mike Cane

    07/11/2012 at 4:25 am

    Something is just plain wrong here. Those estimated measurements make it 8.4″ x 5.6″ — and that’s taller and significantly narrower than the paper iPad Mini published yesterday. It’s no longer a 4:3 ratio and makes it more of a tall iPhone than iPad. The paper iPad Mini specs are in line with two other ~7″ 4:3 tablets, from Pandigital and Cruz (Velocity Micro), which is what I’d expect an iPad Mini to be. So either your measurements are wrong, or that sample is wrong (it doesn’t even look 4:3), or ALL of us have been wrong in what the iPad Mini will be. An iPad Mini as actually an iPhone MAX?! Note: I’ve just done a piece of paper according to your estimated measurements. While a 4:3 screen could fit in that, the border around it is just screwy, not being uniform all around. Something is still wrong.

  4. Mike Cane

    07/11/2012 at 5:42 am

    This is getting up my nose to the point where I began a post refuting it. Instead, first, what I have is a simple frikkin question: Why can’t your contact who *has* that sample *measure* it and send you the measurements?! That would solve everything.

  5. Mike Cane

    07/11/2012 at 6:49 am

    Sorry for the third Comment, but there are only two conclusions here:

    1) If that model is for real, then Apple is changing things greatly for the Mini.

    But I’m inclined to this conclusion:

    2) FAKE. The height of the Mini should be about the WIDTH of the iPad. And that model’s height clearly is NOT.

    >>>The new iPad is 185.67mm wide

    >>>the iPad Mini should be around 213.36mm tall

  6. Bommel

    07/11/2012 at 7:32 am

    I think it’s no fake guys!

  7. rabs

    07/11/2012 at 9:55 am

    Don’t know if it’s fake or not, but it’s a bit too big for a jacket internal pocket, that sounds very silly.
    I’m not sure if there is a kind of norm, but all of mine are about the same size, around 26-27cm of circumference.
    Here it’s about 30.5cm.

  8. iPad Jailbreak

    07/11/2012 at 10:40 am

    This is the real deal, hopefully the iPad Mini will be easy to jailbreak!

  9. chinnamalai

    07/11/2012 at 10:08 pm

    really nice..

  10. Timo Kühne

    07/12/2012 at 11:49 pm

    Really nice pictures. The new IPad will be reallys flat. I love this Gadget.

  11. Clark

    07/13/2012 at 11:53 am

    The iPad mini should be a 7 inch tablet with same display as nexus 7 and should have the middle memory of 8GB(starting memory for touch)and 16GB (starting memory of iPad). So the memory should be 12GB,24GB, and 36GB. And the rest should have same features of new iPad. Should be priced 249$ for 12GB, 299$ for 24GB and 350$ for 36GB.

  12. iphone 4s siri

    07/15/2012 at 3:57 am

    The iCloud advertisement is misleading. iCloud is terrific
    concerning iOS devices, nonetheless it is often a lie to state “Now the points that you do on your cellular phone are just about everywhere you’d like them automatically”.

  13. Ed in aac

    07/15/2012 at 9:07 am

    Steve hated this idea, but wasn’t always right. I welcome a smaller version of my iPad for travel. My big concern is, will it get hot like the current iPad 3?

  14. eddie

    07/15/2012 at 9:10 am

    this great they should have done this a long time ago I hope they are going to be smart enough to offer a antiglare screen

    • therealcbone

      07/16/2012 at 1:32 pm

      Lay off the crack. That thing will be shinier than anything ever.

  15. Epz

    07/29/2012 at 10:37 am

    It could be the new iPod touch w/ 3G capability.

  16. Malinda

    07/29/2012 at 10:17 pm

    “A 7.85-inch display with 1024×768 resolution”

    Not even 720p, way not enough.

  17. Budd

    08/05/2012 at 12:49 am

    “Not even 720p, way not enough.”
    Someone doesn’t seem to know what they’re talking about…

  18. ACBulldog

    01/22/2013 at 1:59 pm

    Sorry for the resurrection of this post but I thought this was too silly…

    Shawn, there is no way someone provided to you pictures of this stupid orange thing.
    So many people talk about new Apple this and new Apple that… everyone has a ‘source.’

  19. Deepak

    12/24/2013 at 8:45 pm

    Apple has changed with technology and now available ipad air and ipad mini with retina display. Thanx for sharing the psot

  20. Pallavi

    04/15/2014 at 3:41 am

    Ya, of course Apple brought some changes in its innovations and bringing devices according to customers.

  21. Tanisha

    04/15/2014 at 3:45 am

    You shared a useful article about new iPad Mini. Apple is bringing constantly new devices now a days. Keep rocking and thanks for sharing such a infromative tips.

  22. andy

    04/15/2014 at 3:54 am

    finally the ipad mini is available in the market and seems like your design. I checked your post a long time ago and really your information was correct for ipad design.

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