iPad 2 and iPad Mini rumours abound

An industry analyst has revealed some more details about the successor to the iPad - and it looks like fans of the device are in for a shrunken treat early next year.

According to analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities, Taiwanese component suppliers have confirmed that they are supplying Apple with the parts requires to make a high-resolution 7-inch baby brother for the incredibly popular iPad slate.

The iPad Mini will apparently be launching in the first quarter of 2011, and will be available in storage capacities of up to 128GB - twice that of the current generation of iPad. The smaller screen will feature an increased resolution designed to match the quality of the 'retina display' on the iPhone 4, and the device will allegedly include a camera - an omission on the current generation model that came as a surprise to many.

Interestingly, White also claims that the next iPad will feature either a micro-USB or mini-USB connector in addition to the existing proprietary port on the base of the unit. Whether the port would be for quick on-the-go data transfer or if it will allow the use of USB-based peripherals such as card readers, cameras, and keyboards is not yet known.

White's claims come as Mission:Repair posts pictures of what it claims is a prototype iPad case featuring slots for two dock connectors, allowing the use of the device in either portrait or landscape mode when connected to a dock. The design of the case appears to match the diagrams from a design patent discovered in China late last month, but there are reports that it represents early prototypes from the first-generation iPad design, and not hardware from the iPad 2.

While confirmation of the claims will likely have to wait until Apple officially launches the devices next year, it certainly looks like the company is continuing to innovate in the face of growing competition from cut-price Android tablets, RIM's debut on the field, and other multifarious devices looking to snag themselves a piece of the tablet pie.