updated 09:49 am EDT, Wed July 11, 2012
First photos hinting at product's size
New photos show what is claimed to be a case maker's mold for Apple's rumored "mini" iPad. The sample is estimated to be about two-thirds the size of the regular third-generation iPad; that translates into a length of about 213.36mm, and a width of 143.67mm. The third-generation iPad, by contrast, is 185.67mm wide, 241.3mm long, and 9.39mm thick. A closer point of comparison is Google's Nexus 7 tablet, which is only 120mm wide and 198.5mm long.
Of special interest is that the mold features a smaller dock connector. A similar one is seen in leaked photos of next-generation iPhone parts, which may suggest the next iPhone and the mini iPad will be first two products to introduce a new dock format. Both have also been rumored to be launching in the same fall timeframe, possibly at the same event.
The source of the mold photos is the same that provided photos of a supposed engineering sample of the upcoming iPhone. In the past, case leaks have sometimes provided the first hints of what future Apple products will look like, though a handful of accessory makers infamously bet wrong last year and produced cases for an iPhone 5 design that didn't materialize. Instead Apple released the iPhone 4S, which was virtually identical to the iPhone 4.