New iPad Mini!?

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 Apples 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 there behind the headlines and what exactly can we expect to see from the compact device when it finally lands? Weve rummaged through all the rumours and trusted source quotes to find out

iPad Mini: When is it out?

Update: Analyst Brian White from Topeka Capital Markets has added further fuel to the iPad Mini rumour mill 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."

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 batch of newly released Windows 8 tablets, believed to be landing around at the same time.

The site, which claims to have inside contacts at several factories that manufacture Apple`s products, also claimed that Apple will ship 6m units of the device in the third quarter between July and September.

Although many aren`t convinced that Apple will launch a minature version of its new iPad, which landed back in March, 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 to Apple Insider.

However, despite reports that the tablet will be released later this year, Wu believes Apple wont be announcing 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."

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