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iPad mini design speculation mounts

With all the hysteria about the new iPhone in recent days, the alleged iPad mini has taken a backseat on the Apple rumour train. But fear not, small tablet fans, a few new tidbits about what Apple's more compact iPad will look like have emerged.

9to5Mac this week posted a mock-up of what the mini might look like. The blog suggested that the device will resemble a "big iPod touch" with a thinner border around the edge than the 9.7in iPad, as well as separate volume buttons.

9to5Mac said it held off on posting the iPad mini details until Daring Fireball's John Gruber, who is usually considered to have the inside scoop on all things Apple, penned a blog post yesterday in which he speculated about the still-unannounced tablet.

Gruber was sceptical that the iPad mini will just be a smaller version of the existing iPad.

"Apple product designs are true to themselves. Each thing has proportions suited to its own nature," he wrote. "Consider how the iPad doesn't look like a blown up iPhone. They share a few similar design elements — a family resemblance, if you will — but the proportions are different."

Gruber suggested that, in looking as the aspect ratios of the iPhone and iPad, the iPad mini proportions will fall somewhere in between.

Meanwhile, Gruber said that July reports about the iPad mini were likely a move by Apple PR to shine a light on Cupertino's tablet line-up rather than the Google Nexus 7, which was receiving positive reviews and flying off shelves.

The latest reports suggest that Apple will announce the iPad mini, as well as the new iPhone and iPod touch, at a 12 September event, but the reduced form factor tablet won't be available until October.

Apple has not yet made any announcements, so stay tuned.