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Roll on the iPad mini: leaked images purportedly show working 7.85in Apple tablet

We've been hearing rumours about the iPad mini for months now, but with the iPhone 5 unveiling behind us, talk about Apple's scaled-down iOS tablet is shifting into overdrive.

New leaked photos on the Chinese site BoLoPad appear to offer a glimpse of a working 7.85in iPad mini. The photos show a device with an aluminium shell that looks similar to the 9.7in iPad, only smaller. The back casing includes the familiar black Apple logo and iPad moniker, as well as a hole for the rear-facing camera.

The device appears to have two speaker ports at the bottom, with a small Lightning connector in the middle. There are two volume buttons on the side, and a lock button and headphone port at the top. From the front, the pictured tablet has a black rim and a physical home button at the bottom.

Just last week, French blog Nowhereelse posted eight purported iPad Mini photos, showing the white version of the device from all angles.

Apple has not announced any plans to launch a smaller version of the iPad, but that hasn't stopped the rumour mill. Last month, Apple blog Macotakara, citing information from an unnamed source, said Apple is officially planning to name the forthcoming 7.85in tablet the "iPad mini."

The current, third-gen iPad is famous for its high-resolution Retina display, but the rumoured reduced form factor iPad may have a cheaper screen, allowing it to be priced competitively against Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD.

Signs have been pointing to an October launch for the iPad mini. Previously, rumours had been swirling that the tech giant would unveil the scaled-down tablet alongside the next-generation iPhone on 12 September, but that obviously didn't happen.