Rumour: Apple Planning October Launch For iPad Mini

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Apple is preparing to launch a miniature iPad on 17 October, to ship at the beginning of November, according to the latest rumours

Apple is readying invitations that will reach media inboxes on 10 October for a 17 October event during which it will introduce the iPad Mini, according to a report from CNN Money.

“This is a rumour we have no reason to believe except it comes from a major Apple investor who says he’s heard it from ‘multiple sources,'” wrote Philip Elmer-DeWitt.

Kindle competitor

He added that a 17 October event suggests a 2 November release date, in keeping with Apple’s usual practices.

With such an arrival date, the Mini – the possible name for a speculated smaller version of the iPad – could officially kick off the Christmas shopping season.

The device is expected to feature a 7.85-inch display – making it a tad more square than the generally paperback-shaped competitors in the 7-inch tablet market – and to be priced between $249 (£155) and $299.

Investment firm Jefferies told investors on 25 September that it expects an iPad Mini launch in late October and for Apple to sell 8 million of the tiny tablets during the fourth quarter. While the firm doesn’t expect the Mini to greatly affect sales of the iPad 3, it dialed back estimates for the iPad 2 from 8.5 million to 6 million and boosted its overall fourth-quarter Apple tablet sales estimate from 20.7 million units to 26 million units.

Due to the timing of the iPad Mini’s launch, Jefferies also expects Apple to push its introduction of an iTV to the first quarter of 2013.

News of the invitation comes with what are said to be leaked images of an iPad Mini mockup, via Japanese site Macotakara, via MacRumours. The latter reports that the bezel around the display has been thinned, there’s a Lightning port on the bottom and a headphone jack up top.

Kindle Paperwhite

Some observers note that after a lull in the iPad Mini rumours, the images and invitation news come as Amazon has begun shipping two versions of the Kindle Paperwhite (pictured), e-readers that Amazon says are the most advanced e-readers ever built.

In a 1 October statement, Jay Marine, vice president of Kindle, said that pre-orders “far exceeded our expectations”.

The Paperwhite measures 6.7 by 4.6 by 0.36 inches, weighs 7.5 ounces and offers 8 weeks (yes, weeks) of battery life. While it doesn’t pretend to be a tablet or offer tablet functionality – though a version does offer 3G connectivity – its $119 price tag, and the enthusiastic reviews offered by media outlets such as NBC News and Gizmodo, suggest that it will compete with the iPad Mini for Christmas shopping pounds.

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