iPad 2 mini shell poses in leaked in photos, gives iPhone 5S a break

iPad mini 2 leak
Still has the wrapping on it

Giving the constantly leaking iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C a long-overdue break, a purported

iPad mini 2

shell has become the subject of leaked photos today.

A total of 20 pictures depict what appears to be the back half of Apple's next 7.9-inch tablet, according to daily Apple product leaker Sonny Dickson.

"Just when you thought we were already up to our necks in iPhone part leaks, we've just gotten our hands on the iPad mini 2 Shell," he wrote before releasing the batch of photos.

The iPad mini release date is unknown, though speculation suggests that it could be before the holiday season beginning in October - 12 months after the original iPad mini made its debut.

iPad mini 2 rear

Nothing but an Apple inside - with a bite taken out of it! (credit: Sonny Dickson)

Scanning for signs of a Retina display

Today's photos give off the impression that the iPad mini 2 will look and feel a lot like its predecessor, which was 23% thinner and 53% lighter than the iPad.

Likewise, the shell's silver color appears to match one of the two colors of the current iPad mini, a color that Apple officially classifies as "white and silver."

The big change may be reserved for the unseen front half of the iPad mini, which is rumored to receive a high-resolution Retina display just like the iPad 4 and iPad 3.

There are also reports that Apple may continue to release an iPad mini model without a Retina display, demonstrating how uncertain these back-and-forth rumors can be.

The 20 photos don't shed new light on new iPad mini 2 specs, but their mere existence may start the drumbeat leading up to an October launch.

That's the exact pattern we've seen in prior weeks with the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C snapshots leading up to their likely unveiling on Sept. 10.

Matt Swider