There were prior reports that hail from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, where both parties have claimed that Apple was already developing the highly rumored iPad mini, where it is also expected to launch before the year is over. The New York Times has also backed this claim, where it will come in a 7.85″ form factor and is said to be far more affordable compared to the $499 iPad that is currently on the market. The image above hails from GottaBeMobile, which is said to be a recent image of an engineering sample of the iPad mini, sporting a re=arranged speaker assembly that is flanked a smaller 19-pin dock connector which was spotted prior on an touted next-generation iPhone part.

Does this mean that a smaller iPad is on the cards, and it does seem to go against the ethos of Steve Jobs? Perhaps, but then again, times have changed, and so has the competitive landscape, where 7″ tablets have definitely done their bit in carving out a niche market for this tablet size. A 7.85″ iPad mini which is well positioned in terms of price would definitely cause a stir in this particular market segment, and it would also be interesting to see whether this would affect the upcoming Nexus 7 tablet from Google as well.

Filed in Apple >Rumors >Tablets. Read more about Apple Inc and iPad mini.

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