Images purportedly showing the rear casing of the next iPad mini have surfaced online, and suggest that Apple won't be tinkering with the design of its tiny tablet too much.
The snap above, which is one of several to surface at Fanaticfone.com, shows the rear housing of what's tipped to be the follow-up to the mini, looking very similar to the current model.
The only discernible difference is the Apple logo. The current mini has a mirror-effect logo stamped on the back, whereas this one appears to be a matte slab that's bolted into the tablet's rump, which is how the logo looks on the current full-size iPad.
The site claims that the part is authentic, but says it cannot know for sure whether the part is a prototype or the real, final version. It certainly looks plausible, but you'd be wise take the snaps with a pinch of salt.
The new iPad mini will likely feature a more powerful processor, but the big question is whether it'll be anointed with the pixel-packing retina display that its big brother enjoys. Recent rumours suggest that a retina-display mini is going into production towards the end of the year, but that could mean that we don't see it hit shop shelves until 2014.
More change needed?
I wouldn't be surprised if Apple sticks with the current design of the iPad mini as historically Tim Cook and pals have been reluctant to make any radical changes to the style of their glossy gadgets -- generally waiting years until we're sick to death of it before altering the look-and-feel.
Apple could be feeling the pressure to shake things up, however, as iPad sales dropped in the last three months between April and June. The fruit-flavoured company still managed to flog a whopping 14.6m tablets though, so the wolf isn't exactly at the door yet.