The iPad Mini is already in production according to a report by The Wall Street Journal, while images said to be of the device have appeared online.
Rumours suggest Apple will hold a press event to officially launch the device on 17 October ahead of a 2 November release. The company will be looking to grab a slice of a small tablet market in which the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire are already well established.
It's thought the iPad Mini will have a 7.85-inch LCD screen, almost two inches smaller than that of the latest iPad, but with a lower screen resolution than its larger cousin. The WSJ says it has spoken to two anonymous sources about the upcoming device.
Meanwhile, images purporting to show the device have been published by UkranianiPhone. The pictures show components including what appears to be a black aluminium case, much like that of the recently launched iPhone 5. Like the iPad, the Mini appears to offer both Wi-Fi and 3G connections to the internet.
Analysts believe that an iPad Mini could cost up to £230, compared with the price of £159 for the base models of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire. However, high price points don't seem to have affected sales of Apple products in the past, with the iPhone 5 topping two million pre-orders, despite a £529 asking price.
Apple hasn't offered any comment on rumours of the iPad Mini, but it's thought that invitations to a press event in San Francisco will be sent out on October 10th.
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