Apple is expected to send out email invitations to journalists for the launch of its iPad mini later today, and now it is believed that the full-size iPad will be updated next week as well.

iPad mini
Mockup of an iPad mini

Although nothing has yet been confirmed, the Guardian claims industry sources - usually in the supply chain - have spoken out to the paper, stating that the iPad mini will launch alongside a small update to the regular iPad.

This update will see the 9.7in tablet get the new Lightning port for charging and syncing, which was first introduced with the iPhone 5 last month and is much smaller than the decade-old 30-pin connector used by all previous iPhones and iPads.

The sources also claim the iPad will be given the 1800MHz 4G band to work with EE's upcoming 4G network, which is due to launch in the UK on 30 October and provide mobile internet many times faster than the current 3G network allows.

iPads with the 1800MHz will also work on Three's 4G network, which is expected to launch next September but it will not work with any other network, as O2 and Vodafone will be issued different bands from the network regulator Ofcom next year.

Apple has been tipped to launch a smaller iPad - thought to have a 7.85in screen - for some time, and as Amazon and Google have both proved the 7in tablet for around £200 can be a success with their Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 respectively, Apple is hoping to join the market.

Price will be key for the iPad mini. With the full-size model starting at £399 and the iPod touch selling for between £169 and £329, Apple will be looking to place the pint-sized iPad around the £200 to £250 mark, and it will go on sale in time for Christmas.

To keep prices down, Apple might chose to forego a 3G or 4G connection for the iPad mini, instead sticking with Wi-Fi, as with the iPod touch.

The Guardian said: "Industry sources indicated to the Guardian that they do not expect to see 3G-capable versions of the iPad mini. That would allow Apple to produce it comparatively cheaply and to limit the top price of the product, while retaining mobile broadband connectivity for its pricier iPad line."

Earlier this week an Australian writer posted pictures claiming to be of the iPad mini on Twitter, showing a tablet device smaller than the current iPad and featuring the new Lightning port.

Apple will be hoping that with the iPhone 5, iPad iPad mini and iPod touch all using Lightning, accessory manufacturers will start to mass produce speakers and docks for the connection.

Analysts expect the iPhone mini's 7.85in screen to have the same resolution as the iPad 2 of 1024 x 768, but with a higher pixel density. While this won't be reaching the Retina levels of the iPhone 5 and iPad 3, it will offer a screen sharper than that on the iPad 2.

Speaking of Retina...

Fresh gossip from the Asian production lines claims that Apple will be launching a 13in MacBook Pro with a Retina display before the end of this year.

The laptop will follow in the footsteps of the 15in Retina laptop launched earlier this year, although screen resolution is expected to be down from 2,880 x 1,800 to 2,560 x 1,600 for the 13in model.

We expect the new laptop to have no disc drive, and instead feature a slimmed down aluminium unibody design and impressive performance with a range-topping price to match.