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Purported iPad Mini pictures leak via Twitter

The new pictures stack the presumptive iPad Mini next to the 10-inch version, and show off the Lightning dock connector.

Apple's iPad Mini is virtually a foregone conclusion, what with all of the leaked pictures that have emerged of the still rumored tablet.

The latest come from 9to5Mac researcher Sonny Dickson, who posted photos said to be of the iPad Mini and the new Lightning dock connector to his Twitter and Instagram accounts this morning. It's unclear whether the pictures are real or fake, but they seem in line with previous purported iPad Mini pictures.

Anticipation for the smaller iPad has been steadily increasing over the last few months as rumors and reports of the device keep trickling in. Apple is widely believed to be on the verge of sending out invitations to an iPad Mini event expected to occur next week.

The iPad Mini is seen as a response to the rise of smaller, lower-cost tablets. Amazon struck first with its Kindle Fire, and now updated Kindle Fire HD, while Google has been selling its Nexus 7, with both offering their tablets at or even below the pivotal $200 mark.

While it's unclear how much Apple's iPad Mini might cost, it is expected to be significantly less expensive than the basic $499 iPad. In launching a lower-cost product, Apple could expand its potential base of customers and take the wind out of the sales for rival low-cost tablets.

Apple declined to comment to CNET.