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iPad mini tipped for October release to fight Nexus 7

Rumours of an itty-bitty iPad persist, with Bloomberg saying Apple will unveil a miniature tablet in October.

Whispers of an itty-bitty iPad persist, with the latest rumours pointing to a miniature iPad going on sale in October, to compete with the Google Nexus 7.

Bloomberg cites two people 'with knowledge of the plans', who reportedly reckon Apple's next toy will have a 7- to 8-inch display, and will lack the eye-bleeding retina display that currently sits on the new iPad.

That could be a cost-cutting omission, however, as the smaller option is rumoured to be cheaper than the existing model, which starts at £399. The timing would be no accident, as Google has just unveiled its own budget tablet, the Nexus 7.

Google's effort will cost a mere £160 and comes running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the newest edition of Google's mobile operating system.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, says Apple's suppliers in Asia are prepping for mass production of a new tablet with a smaller screen.

Rumours of an iPad mini have been doing the rounds since the original iPad made an appearance, though Steve Jobs put the boot into smaller slates back in 2010, saying that anyone using one would need to sand down their fingers to use it properly.

Apple traditionally hasn't appeared to pay much mind to what its competitors are doing, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if the Californian company stuck with its bigger tablet. That said, a smaller, cheaper iPad would be a serious headache for the likes of Google and Microsoft -- which just lifted the lid on its Surface tablet.

We'll know in a few months. October is also likely to be the time we see the iPhone 5, which will undoubtedly arrive running iOS 6.