(Pocket-lint) - A host of pictures of an alleged iPad mini 2 shell casing have appeared online, revealing pretty much nothing new about the next small form factor tablet from Apple.

That is news in itself, because, if true, it is further confirmation that the iPad mini 2 is to have a minor upgrade over the current iteration. The rear aesthetics are therefore likely to remain largely unchanged, with improvements and enhancements to the inner tech instead.

It has long been believed that the main step-up for the iPad mini 2 will come in the guise of a much-sharper Retina display screen. It might also feature the A6 processor as found in the fourth-generation iPad, giving it a performance boost.

From these pictures, sourced by self-confessed Apple rumour monger Sonny Dickson, it looks like all the buttons and elements are in exactly the same place as on the current iPad mini. We also suspect it is the rear casing of the 3G/LTE version of the device, with the tell-tale plastic strip along the top.

The cynics among us could point out that if it looks like the rear casing of the current iPad mini, it could well be the rear casing of the current iPad mini, but where's your sense of adventure and intrigue? Dickson has after all been prolific in his revelations of other Apple device parts for quite a while, with some success in the past.

Writing by Rik Henderson.