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The Apple rumor mill can usually be described, at best, hit and miss. Sometimes we are amazed at how early some rumors begin and then ultimately turn on to be on the money. Other times, however, speculation turns out to be as far away from reality as possible. The conjecture which seems to be brought up and regurgitated the most seems to provide it with some legitimacy, and that is definitely the case with the mystery surrounding the possibility of a small iPad unit.

ipad-mini

The Taiwanese based website, Digitimes, are one such publication which regularly publishes reports making predictions and citing various sources who are always familiar with Apple’s internals. Historically, they have been largely hit and miss with their claims, but certainly have a good enough success rate to warrant attention being paid. The latest from the website claims that Apple are preparing themselves to begin the production process of making a 7.85-inch iPad, beginning in quarter 3 of 2012 and entering the marketplace by year end.

The purported miniature iPad is nothing new, we have been hearing rumors relating to a product of this nature for quite some time, but things seemed to have been quiet on that front, until now. The Digitimes article claims that working samples of the device have already been delivered to Apple and even elaborates on a proposed pricing structure:

Makers in Apple’s iPad supply chain have started delivering samples of 7.85-inch iPads for verification, with volume production likely to begin in the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest, according to industry sources.

The price of the 7.85-inch iPad is likely to be set at US$249-299, since Apple is also expected to release an 8GB iPad 2 for US$349-399, and has lowered the price of the 16GB iPad 2 to US$449, the sources noted.

The report is speculating that the launch of an ‘iPad Mini’ would allow Apple to compete against Amazon and their Kindle Fire which comes in at 7-inches and is priced around the $199 mark. Barnes & Noble also have a device of similar size and a price range which Apple would also be keen to compete against. We wouldn’t put it past Apple to want to compete with Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but with the phenomenal success of the iPad since launch, it would seem like an almost unnecessary task to compete with what are already regarded as less capable devices.

Kindle Fire

When it comes to Apple products, stranger things have happened and considering this is a rumor which just won’t seem to go away then watch this space.

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