iPad Mini branching out?

A series of rumors may indicate an expanding lineup of iPad Minis.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
Apple appears to be working a various future versions of the iPad Mini.
Apple appears to be working a various future versions of the iPad Mini. Apple

A theme has emerged for iPad Mini rumors: multiple models.

One version of the Mini, as prognosticated, is a thinner, lighter, faster version -- sans a Retina display.

NPD DisplaySearch first anticipated this Mini update in June. As did Citi Research. Digitimes chimed in Monday with a similar rumor.

Though a thinner/lighter design is not unexpected, it's still impressive, considering that the Mini is already a mere 0.28-inches (7.2mm) thick and only 308 grams.

DisplaySearch claims it will have the same 1,024x768 display resolution but pack a faster A6 processor, compared with the A5 in the current Mini.

The most anticipated change to the Mini of course would the addition of a Retina display. On Monday, Digitimes echoed prior comments from DisplaySearch and Citi Research, saying that the Retina version may not appear until 2014.

Though that's later than many consumers would like, the supply chain is a fickle beast. It's not completely improbable that we could hear rumors next month of a Mini Retina arriving a bit sooner.

And note that Digitimes spiced up its Mini Retina rumor with the prospect of "an almost bezel-free look."

If true, this would indicate that Apple has big plans for the redesign. Even if it lands at stores a little later than expected, it will likely be worth the wait.

Watch this: Unboxing the iPad Mini