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iPad Mini 4 rumors: Could be unveiled as soon as Sept. 9

Apple disappointed fans of its iPad Mini last year when it released an update to the 7.9-inch iPad that was so minimal it was basically negligible. Luckily, the company may already be working on the next-generation of its smaller tablet, the iPad Mini 4. Here’s everything we know so far about the next iPad Mini:

Updated on 09-02-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added rumored release date. 

Similar design, but no rotation lock

The first iPad Mini signaled a design change for future iPads, which crossed over to the larger 9.7-inch iPad. Now, it seems that the iPad Mini may take a few design cues from the iPad Air 2. Japanese blog Macotakara, which has a reliable track record when it comes to new Apple devices, claims the diminutive new iPad will match the Air 2’s impressive 6.1mm thickness — slightly north of a millimeter thinner than the current-gen iPad mini. A recently leaked rendering from @OnLeaks corroborates that measurement:

iPad-mini-780x372

Leaked photos of alleged cases for the iPad Mini 4 revealed that the next small iPad may not have a mute/rotation lock switch anymore. The switch was recently removed from the iPad Air 2 last fall. The photos come from @OnLeaks, the same leaker who posted a video of the device a while back. The pictures have since been removed.

Related: Read our iPad Mini 3 review

The @OnLeaks video of an alleged iPad Mini 4 appeared in April, showing what could be a chassis with a slightly altered design. Gone is the orientation lock and mute switch from the right side of the device, and in its place, sits a microphone. The same volume buttons are still there, and the power button will presumably stay at the top of the device, though that part was cut out of the chassis shown in the video. These design changes are very similar to what we saw on the iPad Air 2, which lends some credibility to the claim that this shell came from Apple.

The chassis also has a cut-out at the top, where an LTE modem would be placed. The bottom of the device shows space for a Lightning connector and 10 holes on both sides for speakers. The casing might also be slimmer, though it’s hard to tell in the video. Otherwise, the chassis in the video looks mostly like the iPad Mini 3. It’s made from aluminum and comes in a silver finish.

A faster processor and better camera

The very first leak popped up at the beginning of March in a report from Macokatara, a Japanese publication. Unnamed sources claimed that the iPad Mini 4 would be powered by the A8 processor that’s currently found in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The iPad Mini 4 was also rumored to get the long-awaited update to the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, which was a glaring omission on last year’s model.

The camera could get an upgrade, too. Macotakara reports that the iPad Mini 4 will inherit the iPad Air 2’s 8-megapixel front-facing shooter.

As for when it might finally see the light of day, 9to5Mac’s intrepid Mark Gurman reports that Apple could unveil the iPad Mini 4 as soon as Sept. 9. An October preorder period will reportedly be followed by a brick-and-mortar launch the following month, in November.

At this point, nothing else is known about the iPad Mini 4. However, we’ll keep you updated here on all the news ahead of its release.

Previous updates: 

Updated on 08-10-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added leaked rendering of the iPad Mini 4. 

Updated on 07-28-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added rumor regarding the iPad Mini 4’s appearance. 

Updated on 06-23-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added leaked images of alleged iPad Mini 4 cases, which reveal the removal of the mute/rotation lock and a change in the speakers.

Article first published on 04-08-2015