First iPad Mini case arrives

Rolling the dice, HardCandy has announced its ShockDrop iPad Mini case just ahead of Apple unveiling a product.

The $49.95 ShockDrop Case is set to ship on October 25. HardCandy Cases

Once again risking the wrath of Apple, HardCandy Cases has announced an iPad Mini case in advance of Apple's press conference today. Apple typically doesn't like when other companies trot out accessories ahead of its hardware unveils, so HardCandy clearly feels the publicity benefits outweigh the repercussions.

The $49.95 case is in HardCandy's ShockDrop line, and while rumors and leaked photos strongly suggest Apple will debut a smaller iPad today, it's unclear what it will be called or whether HardCandy's new case will fit whatever Apple product is introduced.

This is not the first time HardCandy has done this. Last year, it released an iPhone 5 case before the iPhone 5 actually was announced and got a little mud on its face when it didn't fit the iPhone 4S. It wasn't even close. (Hard Candy chalks it up to faulty intelligence and perhaps even some diversionary tactics by Apple).

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But after getting better intel on last month's iPhone 5 launch (all the leaks proved accurate on that one), case makers are confident they've got it right again. A few other case manufacturers have e-mailed with embargoed information about their cases, which will be officially announced after Apple's press conference later today. And if the past is any indication, Apple should unveil a case of its own at launch.

HardCandy says its ShockDrop Case for the new iPad Mini, which comes in red and black, is set to ship October 25. We'll soon see if it fits -- and whether HardCandy got the name right or not.

An 'exploded' shot of the new case with a purported leaked photo of the new, smaller iPad. HardCandy Cases

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