Is this the iPad Mini, or is it just a dead end?

Rumours have been circulating about a smaller iPad Mini with a 7 to 8 inch screen for a while now, but one company may have let the cat out of the bag, with a case for the expected product apparently spotted and bought at retail.

Found by ProductFeedback, Australian accessory maker Cygnett appears to have iPad Mini cases ready to go, showing in the video below, what the next big Apple iDevice could possibly look like.

Is this the iPad Mini? Image credit: ProductFeedback

We’re not so sure this is the real deal, even if the packaging says “iPad Mini” all over it.

Previously, rumours have suggested and pointed to a 7.85 inch display, and one that would likely follow Apple’s already well-used iPad display ratio of 4:3.

The 7 inch display as seen in this Cygnett product would be closer to a widescreen 16:9 display, more like what the iPhone 5 and new iPod Touch (2012) use.

With three generations of iPad supporting the 4:3 aspect ratio, it’s hard to believe Apple would be changing screen sizes now, especially since it would not only require all of the apps to be refreshed – as is currently happening for the iPhone 5 release – but would show less on-screen keyboard real estate for anyone planning on using their iPad for typing in landscape mode, a known issue on 16:9 Android phones and tablets.

While we can’t be sure, what we’re probably looking at is either a really good case fake, or a hopeful design by Cygnett that may or may not happen.

There are certainly no shortage of rumours for Apple’s next iPad, and we’ve heard that production may have already started, with an announcement date set to happen in the next few weeks, possibly to pre-empt Microsoft’s Windows 8 announcement, which will itself come with its own fair share of tablets.

In any case, if you’re itching for a small tablet and can’t make up your mind, we’d suggest waiting a little bit, because from the sound of things, it’s about to get very interesting.