A new batch of photos published by French site NowhereElse may give us an idea of what the next generation of the iPad mini will look like. The images are said to be of the casing for the unannounced tablet upgrade, and seem to feature some design elements inspired by the most recent version of the larger iPad model.
While the third-generation iPad mini was simply a Touch ID-equipped version of the previous model, many Apple fans are hoping to see a redesign much like this with the next refresh.
Aside from the obvious similarities in the shape and materials, the photos and a video of the shell (which can be seen below) reveal a redesigned speaker grille that mirrors the iPad Air 2’s move away from two rows of speaker holes to just one. The new shell also indicates that the iPad mini 4 may be thinner than its predecessor, though it doesn’t seem like a big stretch to predict that.
Also carrying over from the larger model to the smaller one is the lack of a mute/rotation lock switch, which isn’t such a necessity now that both of those functions are available in software through Control Center. The shell in the images appears to be from an LTE model, as given away by the cutout at the top of the device for the cellular antenna window and the presence of a SIM card slot below the volume rockers.
Makes sense that the iPad mini would change it’s case design to match the iPad Air model but does that mean that the iPad Air 3’s shell won’t change? Last year there was outcry when the mini didn’t receive as much love as the Air so I would fully expect the mini to be nigh-on identical to the Air this year just like the 2013 revisions.