Clones of the hotly anticipated iPad mini have been reported to be appearing in Asian markets even though Apple has yet to confirm the device's existence, and the rumour mill is speeding up ahead of the tablet's expected October launch date.
The latest is the question of whether the 7.85in device will be 4G compatible. 'Industry sources' cited by the Guardian have nixed 3G and 4G as connectivity options for the iPad mini, pointing out that such features would raise manufacturing costs and, consequently, the tablet's retail price. Apple's first foray into the more affordable end of the tablet market may turn out to be Wi-Fi only, it seems.
Apple is also believed to be readying a refresh of its existing 9.7in tablet that will operate on 4G LTE networks within the UK after the 30 October launch of EE's 4G network.
The iPad mini is due to compete with budget tablets like Google's Asus-produced Nexus 7 (which retails from £159) and Amazon's Kindle Fire (which costs £159). Apple has reportedly ordered 10 million units of the miniature device ahead of the holiday season, suggesting the Cupertino, California-based firm is confident that iPad mini demand will be high.
Meanwhile, the existing iPad continues to dominate global tablet slates, but could possibly be given a run for its money if the rumoured Nexus 10, a high-end Samsung-branded 10in tablet, proves to be true.