A pair of images published on Sunday claim to show two Lightning dock connectors, one for Apple's much-rumored iPad mini and another bound for the fourth-generation 9.7-inch iPad.
The pictures come from online community Apple.pro (via BGR), the same source that posted images of the supposed Lightning port-ready iPad back casing on Saturday. In that report, it was thought that the flex cable sitting atop the iPad's shell was the part meant to be used in the device, however today's images suggest the component was actually an iPad mini port.
Both the front and back of the 7.85-inch iPad's Lightning flex cable are shown in the first image, revealing that the component's connections lead toward the left of the device as seen by the socket connector. This could imply that the mini's logic board will be located on the left side of the unit, possibly to keep dispersed heat away from the fingers of users holding the tablet with their right hand. If legitimate, the layout is much like the third-generation iPad's, which also features a logic board situated to the left of the device's huge battery.
As for the purported full-sized iPad Lightning port, the publication suggests that the component is to be used in the fourth-generation "iPad 4," which is expected to be released in 2013, and not a tweaked version of the current tablet some speculated would be unveiled alongside the iPad mini this week.
The connector itself is much more compact than the current third-generation iPad's 30-pin flex cable, and appears to be using a modified ZIF connector, though the image's poor quality prohibits a detailed assessment. While the source of the photos claims the part won't be used in a rumored refreshed third-generation iPad, they failed to explain further.
Apple is widely expected to debut the iPad mini at a special event on Tuesday.