New iPad mini cases pictured as manufacturers prepare for launch, strange new rear hole appears

Apple accessory manufacturers are ramping up production in anticipation of the arrival of the iPad mini some time before Christmas. Australian case, cover and bag company Toffee has led the charge by showing two of its leather-finished numbers to Pocket-lint at the CU Exposed tech show in London.

Sitting among the rest of its iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and new iPad wares were prototypes for the iPad mini in the Shell and Folio range of case design.

The first, the Toffee iPad mini Shell, is simply a back case cover for the predicted tiny tablet complete with edge-to-edge genuine leather finish, while the Toffee iPad mini Folio is a complete case solution. Each follows the currently expected 7.85-inch screen proportions with a space on the Shell for the camera, dock connector, speaker and volume controls.

There's also a strange new hole on the rear that we're currently mulling over in Pocket-lint Towers. Could it be for an IR sensor, showing that Apple is further going for the second-screen market? Could it be for a speaker? Or, perhaps more likely, an LED flash for the camera? There doesn't seem to be one next to the lens, so that's our strongest bet.

Either way, the manufacturer claims that we won't have long to find out.

"These are prototypes but we're expecting the iPad mini soon and we want to show people that we're ready to go as soon as it's announced," we were told by Toffee executive Natasha Sullivan.

With some expecting the iPad mini to be positioned as a gaming device, Pocket-lint's concern was that the more mature, leather styling that the Sydney-based company is known for might not be something that appeals directly to a younger generation but, according to Sullivan, that's not a problem.

"We really think that the iPad mini is going to be something that women will love. The new iPad is too big to fit in most handbags but the smaller size will be perfect and the Toffee cases will complement them very nicely indeed," she said.

You can find out more about Toffee's cases at www.toffee.com.au.

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What do you think the new rear-mounted hole is for? Let us know in the comments below...



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