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New iPad may launch within weeks: reports

Apple has not responded to rumours that it is preparing to launch a smaller and cheaper version of its iPad.

Apple enthusiasts were excited by the release of images that are believed to be of the new tablet.

Sonny Dickson, a researcher for fansite 9to5mac.com, tweeted the images yesterday.

"The images show a device that is significantly smaller than the regular iPad," The Daily Mail has reported.

"According to rumours it boasts a 7.85 inch liquid crystal display, making it a rival to Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire.

"The images also show the iPad Mini utilises the controversial new connector introduced with the iPhone 5, which has made all accessories available to previous Apple gadgets obsolete at a stroke."

Fortune magazine is reporting that a major Apple investor said he had heard from multiple sources that there was some truth to the rumours.

The source told Fortune that invitations to the launch of the new version - known as the iPad mini or iPad air - would be sent on October 10.

"If the rumour is true, and if Apple follows its usual scheduling protocol, that would suggest a special event to unveil the product on Wednesday, October 17, with a launch day of Friday, November 2 - plenty of time to capture holiday sales," Fortune said.

According to reports, Apple has instructed suppliers in China to manufacture 10 million of the smaller tablets.