Apple fans are looking forwards with keen anticipation to the expected launch of the iPhone 5 tonight.
But it is possible Apple might surprise us “one last thing” by the end of tonight’s presentation – an iPad Mini, a shrunken-down, pocket-friendly of the iconic tablet which ushered in the post-PC era.
Now, a leak from Chinese website shows us the potential size of Apple’s new range and – even if all we are looking at is cases – is the first image to show us how an enthusiast’s collection will stack up.
If the Apple Mini does not arrive tonight, a number of leaks and images of prototypes imply the device will be on shelves before Christmas.
These images appeared on a Chinese supplier’s website, before being spotted by French website nowhereelse.fr.
Nowhereelse said the images conform to previous leaks about the iPad Mini, and their own mocked-up iPad Mini, based on specifications revealed over the last few months, matched these covers “perfectly”.
The blog website added: “In addition, the location of the holes cut into multiple accessory supposedly designed to protect the iPad Mini correspond perfectly with the positioning of components.”
The Apple Mini is believed to sport an eight-inch screen, making it a shrunken version of the iPad’s ten-inches.
This will allow a higher degree of portability over previous models, and also give Apple the ammunition to compete with Google, which recently brought out a seven-inch range of Nexus tablets.
It is also believed to be a 3G-capable model, meaning you can use data on the go.
While Steve Jobs was famously against smaller iPads, the success of the Nexus and Amazon’s Fire of budget tablets appears to have convinced Apple there is a market for the slim-line device.
Rumors from Apple suppliers suggest the innards of the Mini will be equivalent to an iPad 2, which analysts suggest will be more than enough to power the shrunken device.
The third iPad had a specification increase but also increased slightly in weight due to the demands of the high-definition Retina display.