Bits and pieces of the hotly-tipped iPad mini have appeared online, giving us a glimpse of what the rumoured sawn-off 7-inch iPad might look like.
Photos of the iPad mini, reported by Ukrainian iPhone, show components that appear to include a black aluminium case, like the new iPhone 5. It features a nano-SIM for 3G browsing when you're out and about.
Bit of a long shot, but with the iPhone 5 boasting 4G LTE technology, could the iPad mini be the first 4G tablet? On that subject, check out our speed test of the first 4G phones, including the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE and HTC One XL.
4G would certainly give the iPad mini a leg-up against the Google Nexus 7, as well as other 7-inch slates like the Amazon Kindle Fire HD or the Barnes and Noble Nook. Apple products are usually guaranteed to fly off the shelves like the packaging has been rubbed down with warm chip fat, but the most important factor in its success could well be the price. After all, it's hard to beat the bargain £160 price of the far-from-cheap-feeling Nexus 7.
Sneaky snaps aside, the Wall Street Journal reports that production on Apple's diminutive iPad has already kicked off, with the new tablet tipped to have a 7.85-inch LCD display with a lower pixel count than the retina-searing new iPad. That's not necessarily bad news, as a lower-resolution display could be a big part of making this hypothetical tablet cheaper.
Apple used to be notorious for its draconian secrecy, but in recent years the veil of silence over new products has slipped somewhat. Over the past few months, we had the most complete picture ever seen of a forthcoming new Apple device, thanks to assorted leaks of components for the iPhone 5. A picture of the new iPhone seemed to form from the inside out as details emerged of the innards and new dock connector, surrounded by the new elongated casing and 16:9 screen.
The iPad mini is rumoured to appear on 17 October, with some reports suggesting an announcement on the 10th -- just a week from now. For more on the possible 7-inch Apple slate, press play on our video below:
With Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the first British 4G phone network all launching in the next few weeks, October 2012 is already set to be a landmark month for technology -- and an iPad mini would send our gadget excitement to off-the-chart levels.
Do you fancy an iPad mini? Can Google and the rest compete with a cut-down iPad? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.