Mockup via 9to5Mac
The rumored ‘iPad mini’ may look more like a larger iPod touch than a smaller iPad, according to a growing consensus powered by third party case leaks and schematics. In contrast with the iPad, which maintains a roughly uniformly wide bezel around the entire screen, the iPad mini may have a relatively thin bezel on the long dimensions, much the same as the iPod touch and iPhone.
One reason posited for the design is that a smaller iPad will be easier to hold and not require the extra bezel space for thumb and finger support. Another, perhaps more likely, argument is that, due to the iPad mini’s likely 4:3 aspect ratio, it would appear too big next to other 7-inch tablets that use a wider aspect ratio. Thin bezels on the side allow for the smaller iPad to be about the same overall height as other 7-inch tablets, but with more usable screen real estate due to the aspect ratio differences.
Further support for the thin side bezel comes from apparently conflicting information that’s leaked about the product. Many sources have indicted that the iPad will retain the 4:3 aspect ratio of its larger sibling, perhaps at a resolution of 1024x768. However, the few part leaks of rear cases that we’ve seen show the product to be too thin to support 4:3 if the bezel was the same width around the entire device. As mentioned above, if the bezels on the long dimension were significantly thinner than those on the shorter dimension, a 4:3 screen could fit.
Schematics via ThinkiOS
Other explanations exist, of course. All the part leaks could be fake and the iPad mini could look exactly like a scaled-down iPad, complete with the same relative bezel-to-screen ratio. The information about the 4:3 screen could be wrong, and Apple is truly planning a much wider screen, even 16:9, for the new iPad.
iPad mini Case Render via 9to5Mac
Finally, it could all be wrong and we’ll never see an iPad mini, or at least not for several years. We wouldn’t bet on that last possibility, however. A smaller iPad at $200 to $300 is too much of a money maker for Apple to pass on.