The new Apple iPad 3 is barely out of its pristinely white box but already a flurry of rumours have hit the web, hinting at the launch of a new miniature version of Apple’s latest slate.
According to reports, the world's most valuable company is expected to release an iPad Mini to fend off stiff competition from rivals Amazon, who successfully entered the tablet fray last year with the Amazon Kindle Fire.
But how much truth is behind the headlines and what exactly can we expect to see from the compact device? We’ve rummaged through the rumours and ‘trusted source’ quotes to find out
The new iPad Mini release date
Update: Analyst Brian White from Topeka Capital Markets has added further fuel to the iPad Mini rumour fire with claims that the device could arrive alongside the rumoured iPhone 5 in September.
He said: "Looking forward to an exciting September from Apple. Regarding the widely anticipated iPhone 5, we believe a September launch is more likely than October."
Although many aren't convinced that Apple will launch a mini version of its newly-released tablet device, another analyst, Shaw Wu from brokerage firm Sterne Agee, believes the release of a mini iPad should be viewed as a “question of when, not if.”
He claims Apple is currently testing several 4-12 inch screen-sporting devices, according Apple Insider.
However, he also says that the company won’t be releasing the tablet so soon after the launch of the new iPad, saying:
"We do not sense that the release of an iPad mini is imminent and quite frankly, exact timing is difficult to predict.
However, we do believe it makes both fundamental and strategic sense for AAPL to address at some point."
Other rumours have also claimed that Apple will be releasing a new slate later this year.
Chinese website NetEase quoted two sources who say that Cupertino-based Apple plans to release the reported 7.85-inch tablet to compete with a string of newly released Windows 8 tablets, believed to be landing around at the same time.
The site, which claims to have inside contacts at the companies that manufacture Apple products, also claimed that Apple will ship 6m units of the device in the third quarter – between July and September.
Source ( t3.com )