iPad Mini to be announced soon? Apple sends out invites for ‘Special Event’ on Oct 23rd

Apple has announced via press invites that a special event will be held on Oct 23rd in San Jose, with the tagline “We’ve got a little more to show you”. The ‘little’ presumably alludes to the long speculated iPad Mini, a more portable iPad that has been rumoured to have a 7.85″ (non-retina) display, a thinner body, a rear facing camera and the new lightning port. With a host of other 7″ tablets flooding the market – most notably the Nexus 7 – it is expected that the iPad Mini’s price point will be an attractive one, possibly in the $249-299 range for a 16GB model. Here are several mockups of what it could look like next to an iPad 2/3.

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Report: iPad Mini coming in Q3 2012, will cost $249-$299 with 6 million units at launch

A new rumour has emerged today from China (surprise!) that claims Apple will be releasing an “iPad Mini” in the 3rd quarter of 2012 to compete against a host of soon-to-released Windows tablets. According to Kotaku:

Chinese net portal, NetEase, has a story on a rumored new mini Apple tablet. NetEase claimed that the device will be released around the third quarter of this year to “counter attack” the upcoming Windows tablets. The report further claims that the devices will cost anywhere from US$249 to $299 and that there will be an initial 6 million units ready for launch.

While this report does make mention of the iPad Mini’s possible cost ($249-$299) and initial units for launch (6 million), it doesn’t speculate on the size of the smaller iPad. Plenty of rumours in the past have pointed to a 7.85″ iPad, which would be slightly larger than the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet (both 7″). If true, a nearly 8″ iPad at under $300 would be a heck of a bargain.

[9to5mac]

Production of 7.85 inch iPad supposedly slated for production in Third quarter of 2012

DigiTimes is once again stoking the flames for the rumoured 7.85-inch iPad, which they first suggested was likely a few months ago. In a new report published today, DigiTimes’ sources claim that manufacturers in Apple’s supply chain have already started delivering samples of the smaller iPad for “verification”, with volume production to begin in Q3 of 2012.

Makers in Apple’s iPad supply chain have started delivering samples of 7.85-inch iPads for verification, with volume production likely to begin in the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest, according to industry sources.

The belief is that Apple is planning on launching the 7.85-inch iPad to compete with Amazon’s $199 7-inch Kindle Fire and other similarly sized tablets. The same sources have pegged the 7.85-inch iPad’s price at US$249-299, and the rumoured 8GB iPad 2 to sell for US$349-399 when released. Now before you get overly excited about a smaller iPad, just know that DigiTimes has been known to be wrong before with their reports, so cautiously take it with a grain of salt.

[via MacRumors]