ipad-mini-engineering-modelThe iPad mini is no longer a figment of our collective imaginations. According to GottaBeMobile, an engineering sample from inside Apple's supply chain — which also captured the iPhone 5 — has been caught on camera. It's thinner, smaller (duh) and comes with the oft rumored 19-pin dock connector, the sample suggests.

In addition, the design falls in line with what Apple's upcoming iPhone might look like, such as the two speaker grills on either side of the dock connector. Because engineering samples are often used as examples while the production process gets underway, there doesn't seem to be any information regarding specs or final size.

However, in an attempt to measure the rumored device to what Apple currently offers, GottaBeMobile believes the iPad mini may be 8.4-inches tall and 5.6-inches wide. For comparison sake, the new Nexus 7 is 7.9-inches tall and 4.7-inches wide.

The images show nothing more than a plastic orange mold. But if GottaBeMobile's sources are to be trusted, the iPad mini is indeed legit, and coming at a time when the smaller, cheaper tablet market is starting to heat up significantly.

[via GottaBeMobile]