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The new iPad Mini: Are the rumors for real this time?

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Concept for a family of Apple devices, including the speculative iPad mini to the left that's rumored for a fall release. 9to5iPad.com

Market in Taipei are circulating rumblings of a scaled-down, competitively-priced Apple iPad expected to be released by the close of 2012 as a response to popular Android-based tablet devices from Samsung, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

According to a (Google-translated) article from Taiwanese news source Liberty Times, Apple already has lined up manufacturers for LCD screens, touch panels and film sensors. The article says that the Macquarie Group, an investment banking firm, reports that the new "iPad Mini" will begin shipping an estimated six million units by the end of the third quarter.

The iMore blog offered up a rumored price range between $200 and $250  as well as an October 2012 release date that coincided with the launch of a new iPhone model.

On May 9, CNET uncovered information through an analyst with Barclays that suggested a seven-inch iPad was just around the corner, with a side note adding that the multinational banking group "wouldn't be surprised if it wound up in the iPod Touch category."

On May 10, the iMore blog offered up a rumored price range between $200 and $250 as well as an October 2012 release date that coincided with the launch of a new iPhone model. 

When CultureMap contacted the Apple store, one employee had not heard of any rumblings of the iPad Mini news, but said that the company rarely shares official information with store employees before the release of a major new product.

"While [Steve Jobs] was famously dismissive of 7-inch tablets, calling them terrible and dead-on-arrival, he also said no one wanted to watch video on an iPod and that Apple wasn't interested in making a phone," wrote iMore's Rene Ritchie about a pointed 2010 statement made by the late Apple founder.

"His utter annihilation of the 7-inch tablet concept," Ritchie noted, "means Apple will never, not ever release a 7-inch tablet . . . or is planning to release one very, very soon."

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