Rumor: iPad mini in November, thinner iPad 3, new iPhone cases

Just a couple hours ago the increasingly credible iMore reported that the next iPhone and mini iPad will launch on Friday, September 21, suggesting the original App4phone story was correct. Now, a new report from another credible publication has it that Apple will launch the iPad mini around November, with a thinner, re-worked full-size iPad model apparently following shortly thereafter…

The thinner iPad 3 SKU was first hinted at by DigiTimes which wrote that the device might sport a slimmer profile thanks to the use of Sharp’s IGZO panels.

Jeremy Horwitz, writing for iLounge, details plans for a fourth-generation iPad:

Apple’s current plan for the fourth-generation iPad is to release another relatively modest body tweak, which would keep the shape basically the same while introducing the new small Dock Connector, a rear-side microphone, and spec-improving/heat-reducing changes to the hardware inside.

It would make some sense to bring the upcoming smaller 19-pin dock connector to the existing Retina iPad 3 and use the opportunity to address some of the complaints, such as battery overheating or light leakage.

The rear-facing mic would be for noise cancellation, the report notes.

The rear-side mic might aid in noise cancellation or improve audio quality during rear video recording, and is apparently just like one found on the iPhone 5, between the camera and flash.

Nonetheless, the publication warns that a 2013 release is perhaps more likely for that hardware refresh given Apple’s annual refresh cycle.

We and our source both feel that a late 2012 iPad refresh is unlikely given Apple’s track record, particularly the bad press/consumer anger that would follow if something replaced “the new iPad” so soon after its launch.

Instead, a minor bump up with the dock connector could be unveiled quietly this year, with the fourth-generation iPad launching around the one-year anniversary of its predecessor, meaning in Q1 2013.

Reaffirming iMore’s and App4Phone’s reports, iLounge claims the next iPhone will be apparently ready to ship around the third week of September.

Also interesting, Apple is said to be  working on at least two cases for the new iPhone, one akin to the iPhone 4 bumper case and the other “a different design that our source says will have a major impact on the accessory market if released”.

As for the iPad mini, prototypes apparently have a mic on the back in the same place, the author writes. The device and the cases to go with it may not be ready for the fall iPhone 5 presser and are likely to have its own debut event.

Our source says that it could ship by November, which we noted would be really close to year’s end, during a month that typically doesn’t see new hardware releases from Apple; our source stood firm on the target date. On the accessory front, Apple is working on smaller versions of the iPad Smart Cover and iPad Smart Case for the iPad mini.

A new iPod touch is also expected in fall, sporting a beefier CPU and the same  screen resolution as the next iPhone with a taller four-inch display (no news on the updated iPod nano).

Note that if it [iPod touch] is released into stores alongside the new iPhone, this will be the first time that Apple offers consumers a choice of bona-fide new iPhone and iPod touch designs at the same time.

All the aforementioned devices could be unveiled at a special media event.

We’re still updating this story. Please refresh manually.