Now, we're getting even more info (not official information, of course - that would be silly!) and the consensus from it all is that Apple will provide said iPad Mini with a 7.85-inch screen that will still hold the original iPad pixel dimensions (also seen on the iPad 2.) And it could hit shelves in Q3 of this year.
Bizarrely, this all comes from gaming site Kotaku, which was tipped off about a story appearing on a Chinese site. The translation reads as follows:
"Chinese net portal, NetEase, has a story on a rumored new mini Apple tablet. NetEase claimed that the device will be released around the third quarter of this year to “counter attack” the upcoming Windows tablets. The report further claims that the devices will cost anywhere from US$249 to $299 and that there will be an initial 6 million units ready for launch."
We'd recommend not so much taking this with a pinch of salt but actually carrying a bucket of the stuff over your shoulder, as We can't see why a Chinese news site would have info like this other than if they had links to Foxconn.
If true, it'd mark a significant u-turn for Apple - remember Steve Jobs always rubbished the idea of 7-inch tablets as being too small. Since then, however, Amazon's Kindle Fire has proved a blazing success and smaller-screened tablets seem to be back in vogue, suggesting that Apple may have changed its mind.
Of course, rumours abound... we'll not actually know until Cupertino confesses... or a prototype is left in a bar accidentally.