gold iPad mini 2 rear shell leak

In order to account for a sharper display, Apple could increase the next iPad mini’s size from the current 7.2mm to 7.5mm. Not a huge difference, and not likely something you’ll consciously notice, but it’s notable due to the addition of a rumored Retina screen that could make an appearance. Chinese case makers are already making products based on the size change, which also indicates Apple’s next small tab will be 0.2mm wider—again, not a huge change in dimensions.

We’ve actually seen a number of supposed iPad mini 2 backplates, with no previous indication that the size would be any different. Therein lies the problem: we don’t know if Apple’s next iPad mini will sport a Retina display or not. Many rumors say it will, while others say it won’t. Only Apple knows at this point—we could find out as early as Oct. 22, when the company is expected to hold another press event.

Apple’s larger iPad actually put on some size and weight when undergoing the Retina treatment, so it’s no surprise the same would apply to the iPad mini 2. While a sharper screen would fit into the natural evolution of Apple’s smaller iPad, manufacturing issues might be holding the device back. In a market where Amazon and Google have small tablets with insanely sharp screens, it would be surprising to see Apple not follow suit, but it could very well happen.

Early case leaks are never a good indication of what to expect—remember the iPhone 4S surprised a lot of folks—so we won’t believe it until we actually see what Apple unveils. The Cupertino company has an supposed event scheduled for next Tuesday, so we’re not all that far away from learning the truth.