Wild with speculation: Apple preparing an "iPad mini"

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Just when you thought Apple had done enough damage to your wallet, the maker of the hit iPhone and iPad mobile devices may soon be releasing what I'm gonna call a "tweener" -- a mini iPad that's smaller than the original one, but bigger than the new iPhone 5.

Engadget and other tech news sites are citing a report in Taiwan's Economic Daily News that says Pegatron, an electronic device manufacturer, snagged 50 to 60 percent of the mini iPad production orders from Apple, over rival Foxconn, which has a history of building devices for Apple. Together, the companies will be able to produce 5 million iPad minis a month, the report apparently says.

Steve Jobs famously said that a smaller iPad would be "dead on arrival," but he apparently later started warming up to the idea. Other device makers, such as Google and Amazon, have had good success with their models.

Other Apple executives, such as Eddy Cue, prodded the company to consider building an iPad mini that would go against rivals from Google and Amazon.

The Chinese report says that the iPad mini will be produced this month in preparation for a launch later this year.

It remains to be seen what price the rumored iPad mini would sell for -- Amazon's Kindle Fire sells for $159. The Google Nexus 7 sells for $199.