The iPad mini is likely to be WiFi-only, sources claim, and accompanied by a refreshed iPad 3 with Lightning connector and broader LTE support, though last-minute design changes could shake up Apple’s launch. Tipped to be a 7.85-inch slate hoping to bring Apple’s tablet success to a mid-point between the existing new iPad and the iPod touch, the iPad mini will lack 3G/4G, according to the Guardian‘s insiders, so as to help keep prices down and maintain the larger model’s halo.
That would mean the only way for iPad mini owners to get online with their slate would be to find a WiFi hotspot or tether it to their phone. Still, it’s a sensible way for Apple to cut costs: the 4G 9.7-inch iPad, for instance, carries a $130 premium over its WiFi-only sibling.
As for that larger iPad, according to the newspaper’s sources, Apple is indeed preparing a minor refresh to the third-gen model. That’s believed to include a new version of the Apple A6 processor but also switch the tablet from the old-style 30-pin Dock Connector to its new Lightning port.
It would also allow Apple to tweak the 4G radio in the larger iPad to support the new EE LTE network in the UK, it’s suggested. EE will be the only UK network to support LTE in the iPhone 5, at least for the time being.
Meanwhile, current leaked images purportedly showing the iPad mini may not be as accurate as once believed, with whispers that a “major accessory company” has ceased case production at the last minute. Sources close to the unnamed firm told Macotakara that production of the cases had been frozen after Apple changed the rounded shape of the smaller tablet, though it’s not clear exactly how it has been modified.
Leaked case designs have circulated for some time now, including examples suggesting a cellular model was, indeed, on the cards. Apple is believed to be holding a launch event for the next iPad mini later this month.