Thursday, August 16, 2012

Latest iPad mini rumors point to side bezel-less design

The iPhone 5 launch is near, and we don't need a rumor about the date to confirm that: the sheer number of other rumors point to it. On the other hand, it's also believed that Apple will unveil an iPad mini at the same Sept. 12 event, and we're starting to see rumors about the iPad's smaller sibling begin, as well.

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Remember that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said that tablets with screens smaller than 10-inches in size were DOA, but then also remember that Apple exec Eddy Cue said in early 2011 that Apple needed to develop a tablet in the 7-inch range. We think the 7.85-inch model is coming. What, however, will it look like?

The simplest assumption is that it will look like a small iPad, meaning it will have the wide bezels along each side. Apple is nothing except an expert at industrial design, though, and Daring Fireball's John Gruber weighed in with some pretty good assumptions about a "mini."

One of those makes a whole lot of (common) sense. Since the iPad mini is smaller and lighter, it wouldn't need the wide bezels along the sides (in portrait mode). When held in that manner, and user, Gruber said, would instead cup the iPad mini from behind.

The bezels at the top and bottom would be larger, for landscape mode gameplay (steering, for example) and other uses. This would, Gruber said, lead to a somewhat iPod touch-like design.

9to5Mac, seeing Gruber's post, indicated that they had the same sort of information, but had not felt "confident enough to post" it. 9to5Mac also posted images of a number of backplates from case manufacturers and mockup images, as well.  One is shown above with a full gallery at their site.

iMore agrees with the other two sources.

We can see the argument, as Apple loves to go its own way, but will it do so with the iPad mini?   It's possible, as well, that the portrait mode side bezels will just be smaller.

The opinions are not unanimous, though. GigaOM, for one, believes an iPad mini without a side bezel "doesn't fit."

One key question: why, with all the leaks of iPhone 5 parts and images, have there been almost none related to the iPad mini? The cases don't really count.

There's a possibility that makes a lot of sense. Just because Apple introduces the iPad mini on Sept. 12 doesn't mean it will ship on Sept. 21, when the iPhone 5 ships. It could be trailing in the production timeframe.

Of course, these are all rumors. We still have no confirmation - or iPhone 5s lost in bars this year - to confirm any of this.

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