iPad Mini Mock Up TB

Once again rumors of a smaller iPad Mini have surfaced, but this time at least a production date has been mentioned.

Call it the rumor that just won’t die, but the somewhat reliable DigiTimes is reporting that Apple supply chain partners have begun delivering samples of a 7.85-inch iPad to the company for testing.  The belief is that this will go into production in the third quarter of this year, which would line up nicely with a release for the holiday shopping season.  Reportedly the iPad Mini, as it’s being dubbed at least temporarily,  would have a target price between $249 and $299 so that it could compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet.

If true, and the rumors of a cheaper 8GB iPad 2 pan out, this could set up Apple very quickly with an entire family of the popular tablet at a lot of different price points.  In theory we could see the iPad Mini, a cheaper iPad 2 and the flagship iPad 3 leaving an iPad to fit just about every budget.

Only time will tell if this is true, but we would remind you that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs did mention he was not a fan of tablet screens in this size ranger.  While Mr. Jobs did pass away last year, we’re not sure how anxious the company would be to go against his public statements so soon after his passing.

[via DigiTimes]