After the iPhone 5, the next Apple product expected to be released is a smaller iPad that will compete with the likes of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD; we’ve been hearing rumors and reports about the illusive device for a long time now and they appear to be getting stronger and stronger.

Today, we’ve come across another report related to the manufacturing of the iPad Mini.  Check it out after the jump.

The report comes from the folks over at Wall Street Journal in which they cite Asian “component suppliers” to Apple who claim that they have received orders of more than 10 million units to be manufactured in Q4 2012.

Wall Street Journal notes that this is double the order of the Amazon Kindle Fire HD in the same quarter.

10 million units is a huge number, especially for an all new product like the iPad Mini. This shows that Apple is expecting good sales of the device whenever it launches; quite understandable, considering how the iPad is the single most popular tablet in the market today.

Although of course, it won’t be absolutely confirmed until the official announcement, this is Apple’s answer to the rapidly growing small and cheap tablet market. It’s a first for Apple in many years, after they set trends of revolutionary user interfaces and tight ecosystems on the iPhone and iPad.

According to present rumors, the iPad is scheduled to be announced sometime later this month. Invites for the event are expected to be sent out by Apple any day now!

As for the specifications, reports suggest that it will have the innards of an iPad 2: a dual-core Apple A5 chip, 512MB of RAM, low-resolution dual cameras, and storage starting at 8GB. It’s display would also have the same resolution – 1024 x 768 – but the size would be a noticeably small 7.85-inches. If Apple is to compete with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, the price will have to be around $199.

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We’re expecting more and more juicy details about the iPad Mini to come out in the next few days and weeks, so stay tuned to Redmond Pie! We’ll be covering them as they happen.

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