iPad mini mass-production in September insist insiders

Further hints of Apple readying a smaller version of the iPad, colloquially known as the iPad mini, continue to trickle out, with new sources lending weight to talk of a late-Q3/early-Q4 reveal for the iOS tablet. Sources in the Asian supply chain are ramping up for a September release, the WSJ claims, with two of the insiders claiming Apple is targeting a screen size smaller than eight inches.

That would certainly fit in with earlier whispers, which pinned the panel down at 7.85-inches and most likely supplied by Sharp. The company is believed to be using IGZO LCD panels which have better screen quality but are thinner than traditional screens.

"Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet" WSJ

Reports back in Q1 claimed Apple was playing around with the roughly 7-inch form-factor, but was undecided on whether to put its prototypes into mass production ahead of a commercial launch. This latest batch of leaks would seemingly hope to confirm that decision had been made, perhaps precipitated by the recent launch of Google's own tablet and the ongoing success of the Kindle Fire.

As for pricing, although nothing is confirmed, tags in the region of $249 to $299 have been mentioned repeatedly, making the Apple slate slightly more expensive than its competitors.

So, legitimate product in the pipeline after years of speculation, or are sources – or, indeed, Apple – looking to derail the Google Nexus 7's momentum with whispers of an iOS alternative? And, even if the iPad mini does turn out to be real, would you slap down your credit card for one?

[polldaddy poll=6361994]