Apple hasn’t announced the iPad mini yet, but we’re expecting it to discuss the device during the highly rumored Sept. 12 iPhone 5 announcement event (or at an event shortly thereafter). It’s common to see cases surface ahead of any smartphone or tablet launch because case makers want to be ahead of the game. This doesn’t always work out as planned, though; Case Mate tried to advertise that it would have iPhone 5 cases ready ahead of the iPhone 4S launch and they weren’t even close to the right dimensions.

Still, another Chinese case maker has already started to manufacture protective covers for the 7.85-inch iPad mini. The case obviously fits along with leaked dimensions of the device and even shows off the new 9-pin dock connector port. Like several existing tablet covers, it appears to have a soft leather (or faux leather) inside that can be folded back to double as a stand for the tablet. A second batch of cases, this time rubber, show a microphone at the top of the tablet and room for the camera, although we’re not sure what kind of cam Apple has planned for the iPad mini just yet.

As always, we’re taking these designs with a grain of salt until the iPad mini launches. We’re guessing these manufacturers are trying to jump the gun, but the iPad mini may look entirely different.

iPad mini Case Gallery

[via MacRumors, GizChina]