We’re expecting Apple to announce the iPad mini on Oct. 17 and, while the device will hopefully be cheaper than the larger new iPad and iPad 2, Apple apparently hasn’t scaled back on the materials used to create the device. In other words, we can expect it to be as first-class as all of Apple’s products.

Brian White, an analyst with Topeka, recently published a research note after speaking with Apple’s suppliers in Taipei. “Apple did not skimp on the aesthetics of the much anticipated iPad mini,” he said. He also believes that the new tablet could “outside” the new iPad “in terms of how the device feels in a consumer’s hands.” That last note seems a bit obvious, since we’re expecting a device with a 7.85-inch screen to be much lighter and easier to hold. Still, his comments suggest that Apple will keep the aluminum body design and won’t sacrifice too much. Of course, one must begin to wonder how Apple will keep prices down in order to compete with the $199 Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle HD and the Barnes & Noble Nook HD.

But perhaps Apple won’t compete with those tablets at all and, instead, will offer a more expensive 7.85-inch tablet that doesn’t sacrifice any of the features of its larger brethren.

[via AllThingsD]