Unless we've all been victims of an enormous and elaborate hoax, the iPad mini is expected to launch this month and be ready in time for Christmas. Further evidence for this has been provided by Asian component suppliers, who claim that Apple has ordered more than 10 million of the devices to be made in the fourth quarter of this year.

Last week, Pocket-lint reported that the internet was awash with rumours that the 7.85-inch tablet would be announced on either the 17 or 18 October, based on a source's claim that the official press invitations for Apple's announcement event would be arriving on 10 October.

The "major Apple investor" who made that claim also suggests that the new iPad mini will go on sale on 2 November. And those dates seem to add up further with these new claims from the component suppliers.

There has been a lot of buzz and excitement about a prospective smaller iPad, with many suggesting that it would dominate the 7-inch tablet market over strong rivals from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and, of course, Google, with its Nexus 7. However, the price of the new device will be massively important, with some claiming that it may be considerably more expensive than its peers.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, RBS analyst Wanli Wang hints that Apple may surprise us all. "iPad mini will be a big hit if Apple prices it below $300," he said.

Do you think an iPad mini will be a hit? Let us know in the comments below...