Apple could also launch new iPad mini and Smart Covers with new colors this Thursday

iPad Air 2 concept (Martin Hajek 004)

Rumors of a third-generation iPad mini arriving in 2015 (ahead of another rumored device, a 12.9-inch iPad Pro) rather than alongside the iPad Air 2 as previously suspected may have been greatly exaggerated after all, according to the fairly accurate Japanese blog MacOtakara [Google Translate] which today asserted that the Cupertino firm is in fact going to refresh the smaller device alongside its bigger sibling at this Thursday’s press conference.

The event should unsurprisingly see the addition of new colors to Apple’s Smart Cover case lineup, said to receive a tweaked design to accommodate the changes in the iPad’s form factor.

Last month, Taiwanese media claimed that the Retina iPad mini 2 could get delayed to early-2015. That story followed a report by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who said he expected only a minor iPad mini refresh this year centered around Touch ID fingerprint scanning functionality.

For the sake of balance, Kuo in his note to clients erroneously called for an iPad Air 2 unveiling at Apple’s iPhone 6 event.

iPad Air 2 concept (Martin Hajek 005)

It’s easy to back Kuo’s delay theory by the apparent lack of related component leaks, as opposed to a bunch of claimed iPad Air 2 parts we’ve seen thus far.

For example, a high-resolution image of a claimed printed circuit board earlier this morning gave us  glimpses of a square chip with the “A8X” branding and 2GB of Elpida-branded RAM, fueling speculation that either an ultra high-resolution screen may be in tow for Apple’s next-generation tablets or the rumored split-screen multitasking functionality (or both).

[MacOtakara via MacRumors]

Renderings courtesy of Martin Hajek.