Rumor: Apple Plans $249 to $299 "iPad mini" for 3rd Quarter Launch

This isn't the first time we've heard speculation about the fabled "iPad Mini," but now rumors are really starting to heat up. The latest in the undying string of tales? Supposedly, Apple is planning to produce 6 million smaller iPads to go on sale by the third quarter of this year.

This tidbit comes from Chinese site NetEase, who also surmised that the diminutive Apple tablet would "counter attack" the upcoming slew of Windows 8 tablets. Allegedly, the device will cost between $249 and $299, and Foxconn and Pegatron will be manufacturing the tablet for Apple.

Though multiple Apple analysts previously weighed in that a smaller iPad could be a great thing for Apple -- allowing the company to dabble in the smaller tablet market and to directly compete with Amazon's hugely popular Kindle Fire -- there's no guarantee that the pint-sized iPad will ever go on sale. It's more than likely that the iPad mini exists as a prototype somewhere inside the Cupertino stronghold, but since rumors of a smaller version of the iPad have been swirling since Apple's first launch of the product -- all the way back in early 2010 -- who's to say for certain that the iPad mini will ever see the light of day?

via NetEase and Kotaku