Is this our first glimpse of the iPad mini 4?

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An alleged iPad Mini 4 rear shell. Photo: OnLeaks
An alleged iPad mini 4 rear shell. Photo: OnLeaks

The iPad mini 3 was a bit of a disappointment because Apple really didn’t make any improvements other than adding Touch ID. Big changes could be in order for 2015, though, according to a video of an alleged 4th generation iPad mini rear shell that shows Apple’s smallest tablet is about to get an iPad Air redesign.

Watch the full hands-on video below.

Crystal Baller: Fireproof Macs, Apple Watch pricing, and 5 other wild rumors

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This week’s Apple rumors are ready to be decoded…

We get slammed 24/7 with new Apple rumors. Some are accurate, most are not. To give you a clue about what’s really coming out of Cupertino in the future, we’re busting out our rumor debunker each week to blow up the nonsense.

After staying quiet the past few weeks, the Apple rumor mill is erupting like Mt Kilauea with hot rumors about the Apple Watch’s possible launch date, gossip of the iPad mini getting discontinued, and our first iPhone 7 rumors of the year. Step up to the crystal ball and see which of these rumors are the real deal, and which are just pretenders.

Super-skinny iPad Pro

The Rumor: iPad Pro will be as thin as iPhone 6.

The Verdict: Unbelievable. A tablet that's just 7mm thin and has the battery life and horsepower to be an all-day work machine for professionals? That would be an impressive bit of engineering if Apple pulls it off.

Apple Pay bus passes

The Rumor: Apple Pay will soon replace your bus pass.

The Verdict: Definitely. Apple's goal to replace all the plastic and paper in your wallet is already starting off better than expected, but Apple Pay and Passbook will need to add some new tricks (like Transit Passes and a Loyalty Program) if it wants to be the undisputed king of mobile wallets.

Spring Apple Watch launch

The Rumor: Apple Watch won't launch until Spring.

The Verdict: Probably. Angela Ahrendts told employees that Apple Watch won't hit stores until after Chinese New Year (February 19th). We weren't expecting a January or February launch, but hopefully our wrists will be rocking the Apple Watch before April.

Apple Watch won't be cheap

The Rumor: Stainless Steel Apple Watch will cost $500, gold will go for $4000.

The Verdict: Sounds likely. $500 for a gorgeous stainless steel smartwatch is a pretty decent bargain, especially if you can't swap the bands on the Apple Watch Sport. But $4000 for the gold unit? I hope Apple lets these rich Apple Watch buyers swap out the guts every year, otherwise that $4,000 Apple Watch EDITION will just be a symbol of much you love to blow money.

Fireproof iMacs

The Rumor: Your next Mac could be fireproof.

The Verdict: Too early to tell. Apple invented a new eco-friendly material that could protect Macs from fire damage, but even though Apple's had a few exploding iPhone and iPad incidents, we doubt we'll see this stuff in the Mac within the next 12-18 months. We're still waiting for Apple to make use of its Liquid Metal tech its owned for years.

Sayonara iPad mini

The Rumor: iPad mini will be discontinued?

The Verdict: No way. iPad sales have been struggling lately, but the iPad mini is still the best small tablet on the market, even if it is a gigantic ripoff. Getting rid of the iPad mini so Apple can focus on the 12-inch iPad Pro makes no sense. Apple needs to keep its 7-inch tablet around to cover all sizes.

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iPhone goes 3D?

The Rumor: The next iPhone is getting a glasses-free 3D display.

The Verdict: Say it ain't so Jony. The world doesn't want a 3D display on a smartphone, just ask Amazon. If anyone could pull 3D off, it's Apple, but the only way I see them adding 3D to the iPhone is if it absolutely revolutionizes the iPhone experience, and that just doesn't sound likely.

The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 are now available at Apple Stores

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You can grab an iPad Air 2 at your local Apple Store starting today. Photo: Apple

Apple announced its newest lineup of iPads last week without giving a specific launch date, but if you didn’t get in on the pre-order action you can just go to your local Apple Store and pick up a new unit starting today.

Pre-orders deliveries for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 began earlier today, but Apple retail staff has informed Cult of Mac that stores should receive their first shipments this afternoon, even though most Apple Stores are still waiting for their display units.