UPDATE: The iPad event invites have gone out - the iPad mini will launch on 16 October! See: How to watch new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 launch live video stream.Apple's second-generation iPad mini tablet was released in October 2013, so as we rapidly approach its first birthday, talk of a new iPad mini 3 is hotting up. There are several rumours about what the new iPad mini 2014 will be like, so here we bring you the latest iPad mini 3 release date, price and specs rumours so you know what to expect. See also: The best tablets of 2014.
First up, it's probably not going to be called the iPad mini 3 - the iPad mini 2 is actually called iPad mini with Retina display - but for the purpose of this article that's what we'll be referring to the new 7in tablet as. Read on to find out everything we know so far about the iPad mini 3. See also: Apple iPad mini 2 Retina vs iPad mini comparison review.
iPad mini 3 release date: When is the new iPad mini coming out?
The invites have now gone out, so you can expect the iPad mini 3 to be unveiled on 16 October. We'll be holding a live blog that evening, bringing you all the iPad news as it arrives.
Even before the confirmation, we were fairly certain the iPad mini 3 would come this month. Looking back at Apple's iPad launch history, it seems likely that the company will host a special event in October to launch both the third-generation iPad mini and a new iPad Air, before making them available to buy in November. In October 2013, Apple launched the first iPad Air and the Retina iPad mini, and in October 2012 we saw the launch of the iPad 4 and first iPad mini.
There was some speculation to suggest that Apple would unveil new iPads during its 9 September special event, but Apple stuck with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch announcements, so we're still expecting an October event for new iPads.
iPad mini 3 rumours: Design
One rumour that we've heard recently that the iPad mini 3 will be called the iPad mini Air, continuing the naming convention from the iPad Air and MacBook Air. There's talk of an iPhone Air arriving this year, too.
This rumour comes from Taiwan's Economic Daily News, but we're not convinced that Apple will decide to use this name. It seems like a bit of a mouthful to us.
The reason for Economic Daily News's theory that the iPad mini 3 will be the iPad mini Air is because it believes the device will be 30 per cent thinner than the current Retina iPad mini. However, that would make the new iPad mini just 5.25mm thick, which seems unlikely to us.
One possibility that seems more likely is that Apple will introduce a third colour of iPad mini, a gold to match the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
iPad mini 3 rumours: Specs & new features
There's not much to say so far about the iPad mini 3's specs and new features. It's thought that the new iPad mini will probably have a Touch ID fingerprint sensor like the one found on the iPhone 5s. It's also likely that the iPad mini 3 will have a new, more powerful A8 processor.
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPad mini 3 will gain an 8Mp iSight camera, too. Read: Apple iPad Mini vs Google Nexus 7 tablet comparison review.
That's a small change and it's likely that Apple will stick with the same 7.9in display with a 2048x1536 resolution that the iPad mini 2 offers. Apple will have to differentiate the new model to tempt users to upgrade.
The iPad mini 2 is currently available in 16-, 32-, 64- and 128GB storage options and this is likely to continue with the iPad mini 3. Will Apple add a microSD card slot? Unlikely.
At the moment it seems like the iPad mini 3 will only bring small changes and upgrades but we'll keep you up to date over the coming weeks and months.
iPad mini 3 rumours: Leaked images
There are several allegedly leaked images showing the iPad mini 3, as well as concept images and mockups made by talented designers.
The first leaked photo was sent to French blog NoWhereElse.fr, showing what appears to be a prototype iPad mini 3 with a Touch ID home button (above).
A second photo, this one from Taiwanese site apple.club.tw shows prototypes of the iPhone 6, iPad 6 and iPad mini 3, each sporting a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
The next images are truly stunning, showing a 3D mockup of what the iPad mini 3 could look like. They've been created by the popular designer Martin Hajek. You can see more of his work here.
iPad mini 3: Price
The price of the iPad mini 3 is hard to call since the price of the iPad mini 2 is £50 more than the original - £319 compared to £269. That was mainly due to the Retina quality screen upgrade.
So, unless Apple does something major to the iPad mini 3, we expect it to come in at the same price. The firm is likely to then discontinue the original model completely (it currently sells just a 16GB at £249) and reduce the price of the iPad mini 2 and offer it in just the base storage capacity.