Apple is expected to release a smaller version of its hugely successful iPad this year and various reports are claiming that it will be called the iPad mini. As of now, there are no actual images to satisfy us and since Apple is well known for its secrecy, especially where designs of its future hardware is concerned, there has not even been any leak which shows what the smaller tablet will look like. However, similar to the case of upcoming iPhones, people who are gifted with incredible design skills have come up with what they think the upcoming iPad mini will look like, based on all the leaked information found on the Internet.

A report by 9to5Mac states, “Ahead of Apple’s apparent October event to show off its upcoming “iPad mini,” two reports are showing physical mockups of the device. These mockups appear to both be identical to the iPad mini design information and previously leaked iPad design schematics. The physical mockups show the skinnier side bezels in addition to a very-thin design, a smaller dock connector and more. Additionally, this particular mockup features cutouts for a SIM-card slot and an antenna cutout at the top of the device.”

Slimmer bezel

Slimmer bezel

These mock ups look really great and one would certainly hope that Apple does something similar when designing the iPad mini.

An earlier report indicated that Apple would be ramping up production for this smaller tablet with it expecting to produce 4 million units of the same beginning September. A report by Digitimes stated, “Supply volume of Apple's 7.85-inch iPad is estimated to reach four million units per month starting in September in order to prepare for demand from year-end holidays, according to sources from the upstream supply chain. Rumors are circulating in the IT market that Apple will launch its 7.85-inch iPad in October with a thinner screen frame to allow the device to feature a bigger display area than other competing products and will also feature a resolution similar to that of iPad 2.”

The report ends by stating that sources have implied that the pricing of this smaller tablet would be at $299, i.e. more than that of its rivals, the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7. The report states that though this is the case, the specs table from Apple would still definitely be able to give them competition.

If Apple is indeed currently mass producing the 7.85-inch iPad, this could indicate that the launch is near. Earlier this year, there had been reports doing the rounds that Apple was testing a tablet with a smaller display, but hadn't decided yet whether to proceed with the production.

It may be really interesting to see if Apple does launch an iPad with a lower budget, as the brand has lost a significant amount of market share to 7-inch tablets. The main competitor is the Amazon Kindle Fire, which has eaten quite a bit of Apple’s share in the tablet market in comparison to other tablets.

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