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Buzz builds for iPad mini as Apple orders 10m units

Apple has not confirmed the existence of its 7.85in iPad mini, but that hasn’t stopped the rumours from churning.

A new report in the Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) suggests the company is placing a big bet on the miniature tablet, having reportedly ordered 10 million units in time for the Christmas shopping season.

The newspaper cited sources in the Taiwanese supply chain, who revealed the figure and pointed out that it is approximately double the amount of Kindle Fire tablets ordered by Amazon for the year’s fourth quarter.

Reports last week claimed that production of the device had kicked off, though Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said the process had been delayed by parts production. “[S]uppliers have found the specs around Apple's 7.85in 'iPad Mini' to be a challenge and yields have been frustrating,” White said.

(opens in new tab)The iPad mini was first expected to launch alongside the iPhone 5 on 12 September, but the 7.85in slate is now due to arrive in late October - just in time to face off with Microsoft’s line of Surface tablet PCs and a slew of other pre-holiday season offerings.

The market is rife with competition, but the 10 million figure suggests Apple is confident in its ability to ship mass amounts of the device. The release of its iPhone 5 last month saw five million units sold in a single weekend.