Online speculation about the Apple's plans to launch a new, smaller version of the iPad have been sparked by a picture of Taiwanese racing driver and celebrity Jimmy Lin.

The Akihabara News website spotted images posted on Lin's personal blog that seem to show him holding a miniature iPad in one hand, with a standard iPad in the other.

However, the image is of poor quality so it is difficult to draw any conclusions from it. For all we know, it could simply be a cardboard cut-out.

Rumours that a smaller, 7-inch iPad could be launched in 2011 circulated back in September, though whisperings from Apple supply chain sources in Taiwan appeared to cast doubt on this as Macworld reported last week.

iPad mini spotted?