We’re getting mightily close to the purported launch bracket of the rumored “iPad Mini,” and although Apple has been familiarly tight-lipped about everything, the tech world seems dead-set on what the Cupertino has up its sleeve. So confident, in fact, that a mock-up of the device has been doing the rounds for some time, and even though we’ve seen shots of it on numerous occasions, Chinese tech blog Wretch.cc has delivered some close-up shots.

According to a broken-English automated translation from Google, this model is said to have come straight out of Taiwan, and for added perspective, is sandwiched between the larger iPad and the brand-new iPhone 5.

The report goes on to corroborate many of the other general features we’ve heard, seen, and noted quite a few times, including the predicted 7.85-inch display, which will offer the same resolution as the iPad 2 at 1024×768 – equating to 163 dpi. As well as that, both rear-facing and front-facing snappers are both expected to feature, and the new Lightning dock connector will cause another headache (and expense) or two for those rocking 30-pin docking equipment

Close up, it certainly looks sleek, and although it’s not in the same league as the new iPhone when it comes to sheer beauty, it’s still aesthetically pleasing. The looks – along with the general specification (A5, 512 MB RAM, 5-megapixel camera) – have rarely been in doubt, but the key issue will be whatever price point Apple decides to sell it at.

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To put things into some perspective, the Nexus 7 (8GB) costs $199, and that offers a quad-core processor, Jelly Bean, and an all-round slick experience. In its favor, however, Apple will finally be able to entice those that have always pined for an iPad but have been priced out of the market, so if the iPad Mini can retail at $249 or thereabouts ($199 seems a little too ambitious), this slate could easily become one of the fastest and best-selling gadgets of all time.

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Like the larger iPad, it’s expected to ship in both Wi-Fi and 3G configurations, and the SIM slot, which has also been on show on a number of occasions, points to a Nano-SIM.

We’ll of course keep you updated on any further images or insight regarding the upcoming Apple slab, so stay tuned!

(via 9to5Mac)

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