Apple’s yet-to-be-announced iPad Mini has apparently been revealed in full for the first time in the best set of pictures yet leaked on the internet.
Sonny Dickson, a researcher for fansite 9to5mac.com, published the images on his Twitter feed yesterday, sparking a wave of excitement among Apple enthusiasts.
The images show a device that is significantly smaller than the regular iPad. According to rumours it boasts a 7.85in liquid crystal display, making it a rival to Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire
The images also show the iPad Mini utilises the controversial new connector introduced with the iPhone 5, which has made all accessories available to previous Apple gadgets obsolete at a stroke.
It emerged yesterday that Apple had instructed suppliers in China to manufacture 10million of the new smaller tablet computers, showing faith in their product in the face of stiff competition.
Insiders say the iPad Mini will be announced on October 17, a few days from the releases of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Microsoft’s Surface tablets, and go on sale November 2.
As yet, however, Apple has not officially confirmed any of the reports, rumours of leaks about a smaller iPad.
Apple’s 9-inch device dominates the market, but smaller, cheaper tablets have been eating away at the iPad’s popularity. The iPad mini is expected to so on sale around the world on November 2nd, according to online speculation.
The launch date was reported by Fortune magazine, which cites Apple investors hearing the date from ‘multiple sources’. The device is believed to have similar hardware to last year’s iPad 2, but reduced to a pocket-friendly seven or eight-inch form.
Fortune reports that Apple will send out invites for the launch on October 10, gathering tech journalists and stakeholders together to unveil the device.
Amazon, meanwhile has already enjoyed huge success in the US with its updated Fire tablets – but will release them internationally for the first time on the 25th October.
The gadgets, are available in both 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions (although only the 7-inch version is currently set to go o sale outside of the US).
The third contender is Microsoft, with its Surface tablets.
The firm will launch the Surface tablet at the same time as Windows 8, the latest version of its desktop operating system, which experts say is a ‘make or break’ time for the firm.
‘It’s a dangerous game, as all three firms are trying to steal each other’s thunder,’ said Tom Wiggins of gadget magazine Stuff.
‘Apple tend to be more cagey.
‘If I was Apple, and knew that Microsoft was launching, I’d probably try and come up with something to take the focus away from them – and nobody else can do that in quite the same way Apple can.’
Wiggins believes that Microsoft has so far played its cards close to its chest with the Surface tablet. The firm has not even confirmed a price for the gadget.
‘Microsoft is the most interesting – it’s a make or break thing for them, as they have always struggled with touchscreen interfaces.
‘It has the potential to be a success – but the worry is that it will be overcomplicated compared to the iPad.’
However, it is Apple’s iPad mini that is expected to attract most attention.
‘The iPad mini is potentially huge,’ said Wiggins.
‘But a lot will depend on price. There are a lot of people who would like an iPad but can’t afford one, so if it does launch and is £250, it will be very difficult for anyone to beat.’
Experts also believe that Amazon’s Kindle, which is being launched outside the US for the first time, could be let down if not enough content is available.
The gadget uses Amazon’s own app and film and book stores.
‘Kindle Fire is a difficult one, especially in the UK,’ said Wiggins.
‘It is dependent on its content delivery, and they will have to have a lot of UK content at launch for it to work – but Kindle is a very strong brand now..
However, Wiggins also believes that the technique could also backfire – by confusing consumers.
‘It is quite possible consumers will get confused,’ he said.
‘After the iPhone launched, a lot of competitors came out, and people did get confused.