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iPad mini casing shows Lightning port in new photos

New pictures of Apple's rumoured smaller tablet are the clearest yet.

Pictures that appear to show the iPad mini's casing have surfaced online, hinting that Apple's much-anticipated smaller tablet will have a more squarish look than previous slates and feature the Lightning port connector.

Pictures of the long-rumoured gadget's components were tweeted by tech blogger Sonny Dickson, who told me the parts came from "a source" and that he took the photos himself.

If genuine, these images give us our clearest glimpse yet at what we can expect from Apple's next gadget. The speaker grille and Lightning port keep the design in line with the recently launched iPhone 5, while the volume controls on the side look to be broken into two buttons, rather than one button on a rocker switch.

With Apple remaining typically tight-lipped on the subject, it's impossible to know if we're looking at parts of a real, upcoming gadget. That said, almost everything about the iPhone 5 leaked ahead of time, including a slew of casing elements like the one seen above.

It's entirely possible these metal chunks of intrigue are clever fakes, or perhaps ditched iPad designs Apple's shelved. The casings shown in these snaps are very detailed, however, which -- along with the slew of accurate iPhone 5 leaks -- lends them credibility.

If Apple does have a smaller iPad up its giant aluminium sleeves, rumours point to an unveiling in two weeks' time, which would see the itty-bitty slate potentially on sale by the end of the month, in shops and fighting the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD for tiny-tablet dominance.

Would you buy a smaller iPad? Do you think these photos are credible? Deliberate, cogitate and digest in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

Image credit: Sonny Dickson

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