Apple recently and quietly removed the original iPad mini from its online store. We now have an idea why it was removed, as a third-party case for the upcoming iPad mini 4 has leaked ahead of its fall release.

Fans of Apple's iPad mini were a bit disappointed when the company refreshed its iPad lineup last fall. While the iPad Air 2 gained more powerful specs in the form of the 64-bit A8X processor, M8 motion co-processor, 2 GB of RAM and Touch ID, the iPad mini 3 was virtually unchanged to its iPad mini 2 predecessor. The 7.9-inch tablet shipped with the same 64-bit A7 processor, M7 co-processor and 1 GB of RAM. Its most notable "upgrades" came in the form of a new gold color option and Touch ID.

We reported back in April that a video surfaced, showing off what was reportedly the iPad mini 4's redesigned rear case. The aluminum shell breaks away from previous iPad mini designs and takes on the look of the iPad Air 2, complete with the removal of the mute/orientation switch.

The reliable tipster who leaked the video in April is back again and is showing off a third-party silicon case for the iPad mini 4. @OnLeaks posted several images of an iPad mini 4 silicon case on Twitter, and it gives us an up-close and personal look at what we can expect from Apple's upcoming iPad mini 4.

The iPad mini 4 silicon case shows cutouts on the bottom of the case for the tablet's Lightning connector and two cutouts for the iPad mini 4's speakers, as well as its volume buttons and rear camera. Just like the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 4 will lose the mute/orientation switch that has been a staple on the slate since the original's debut in November 2012. This move could allow for an even thinner and lighter iPad mini 4.

The Apple iPad mini 4 is expected to debut in the fall alongside the iPad Air 3 and 12- to 13-inch iPad Pro. Current rumors suggest the iPad mini 4 will feature a more powerful A9 processor, M9 co-processor and 2 GB of RAM.

Once we hear any new details on the iPad mini 4, you can be rest assured we'll pass them on to you.

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