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Imagining the iPad Mini: Mockups multiply

Mockups of the iPad Mini are beginning to hit a critical mass. So it's time to offer up a few for your viewing pleasure.

A mockup of the iPad Mini: it will look like an big iPod Touch with narrower side bezels, said 9to5Mac.
A mockup of the iPad Mini: it will look like an big iPod Touch with narrower side bezels, said 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac

The iPad Mini won't just be a design knockoff of the iPad, if recent informed speculation pans out.

Reports began appearing early last month that the iPad Mini would take design cues from the iPod Touch.

Well, that has become enough of a recurring theme that 9to5Mac is now posting what it believes to be credible mockups of the upcoming smaller Apple tablet.

The iPad Mini will have "smaller bezels along the sides in portrait mode and separate volume buttons and not a 'rocker' and a mic on the back," 9to5Mac said.

The lack of a wider bezel -- unlike the 9.7-inch iPad -- will define how the tablet is held and used, according to the Apple enthusiast blog.

Of course, the biggest question on most people's mind is price. Google is foisting the $199 price point on the market with its popular 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet, following in Amazon's footsteps. (Does anyone still remember the Kindle Fire? That announcement now seems like it was ages ago.)

Apple could price the iPad Mini to move. At 7.85 inches, it's expected to be only a little bigger than the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire and is also expected to lack the array of features on the third-generation iPad, which starts at $499.

And a $399 iPad 2 is already being sold by Apple so that could force the price of a small iPad even lower.

Rumors were making the rounds today about a $199 Surface tablet from Microsoft. But that would be a stretch, as Surface is a 10.6-inch device with a keyboard. No top-tier PC makers or tablet suppliers today have new 10-inch class products priced even close to $199.

Next to the Nexus 7.
Next to the Nexus 7. 9to5Mac
iPod Touch.
iPod Touch. Apple