Analyst claims to have already played with an iPad mini

With Apple’s media event now just hours away, anticipation is mounting for what is expected to be a major announcement. For the first time in two years, the company will be unveiling a new product line: the iPad mini.

While we think we know a lot about the smaller tablet, we won’t know anything for sure until Apple hoists it up on stage tomorrow. But according to one analyst, who claims to have already played with the slate, it’s awesome…

Fortune points to an interesting report by Topeka Captial’s Brian White in a note to investors  today. The analyst says that while touring Apple’s supply chain two weeks ago, a case-maker let him play with an iPad mini prototype.

“During our recent China-Taiwan Tech Tour, we had the opportunity to play with a pilot version of the “iPad Mini” that easily fit into our sport coat pocket. Experiencing a new form factor of an iconic product such as the iPad is a sight to behold and we believe consumer demand will reflect this phenomenon. We expect the “iPad Mini” to be 7.85 inches in size, include two cameras, come with the option of Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and 4G/3G, include the new lightening connector, start at lower storage capacity (8GB) than the iPad, sport a more refined back casing, come in slightly different color variation (i.e., similar to iPhone 5) and offer some surprises.”

White’s account matches up nicely with previous reports on the iPad mini, though he is the first person claiming to have actually played with one. He describes it as smaller, lighter and more refined than the current iPad.

Early speculation suggested that the tablet would cost between $200 and $250. But a recent report from 9to5Mac says that Apple has priced it between the new iPod touch and the iPad 2, at $329 for the entry-level model.

The good news is, we don’t have to wait much longer to find out what’s fact and what’s fiction. Apple’s media event is set to kick off at 10am PST tomorrow morning. And yes, iDB will be covering the keynote in its entirety.

Are you excited yet?