Images of purportedly the second-generation iPad Mini chassis in initial stage of production leaked out this week, showing off the small Apple tablet in a bare shell and minus all the fresh components that we would love to see.
According to MacRumors, an Apple-centric site, the pics were provided by Chinese web site WeiPhone, noting at the same time that readers should not interpret the pics as the real deal.
The same report also pointed to a source that confirmed the shell indeed came from a known Apple supplier but it is more likely that the tablet housing in showcase is not meant for the iPad Mini 2.
What were displayed represent the same casing used in the original Mini so the likelihood is higher that we are looking at exactly the same shell, MacRumors said.
These new images showed a slightly thicker shell though the report pointed out: "It is simply a bit of an optical illusion due to the fact that the edges of the shell have not yet been chamfered as they are in the final product."
Or the iPad Mini 2 chassis actually gained a bit of a heft to accommodate a larger battery for longer hours of operation and the much-awaited Retina display component. Most analysts are convinced that Apple is finally deploying the technology to its small tablet despite the dilemma of having to add a few dollars to the tag price.
The pics came out as reports emerged that production of the iPad Mini 2 is now underway with a specific Chinese supplier tapped by Apple to work on the Retina component.
The tech giant has already sold 23 million units of the smaller iPad and is aiming to sustain on that momentum this year by rolling out a refresh version that offers more premium than the previous make.
Analysts have projected that some 60 per cent of the slates to be snapped up by the end 0f 2013 will come from the 7-inch plus category, highlighting the growing popularity of smaller tablets and the rush on the part of manufacturers to meet the demands.
Currently, the iPad Mini remains the leading brand but Google and Samsung are readying new challengers in the form of Galaxy Note 8.0 and Nexus 7.7, the former rumoured for unveiling next week.