Apple intends to release smaller version of its popular iPad media tablet on October 23, 2012, reports Bloomberg news-agency citing a person familiar with Apple's plans. Previously it was reported that the official announcement and press conference date will be set on around October 10, 2012.
The official unveiling date for Apple iPad mini media tablet looks logical, as Apple needs to start selling the new slate starting from around early November so that to sell maximum possible amount of the new gadgets this fall and during the holiday season. Earlier this week it was revealed that the company placed orders on as many as ten million iPad mini to be made this quarter, which points to rather bold sales expectations by the company.
Foxconn, Apple's key contract manufacturer, has already initiated mass production of the iPad mini just in time to roll-out the novelty commercially slightly ahead of the holiday season. The device will feature 7.85" LCD screen with 1024*768 resolution made by either AU Optronics or LG Electronics.
It is unclear whether the new iPad mini will utilize Apple A5 system-on-chip that powers iPad 2 or Apple A6 found in the iPhone 5, but iPad mini will unlikely feature Apple A5X found in the latest iPad 3 since it has too sophisticated and expensive memory sub-system. Given smaller sizes of the A6 compared to predecessors thanks to 32nm process technology, it may power then new iPad. Still, one should remember that Apple also has 32nm version of the A5.
So far, Apple has been offering iPads only in 9.7" form-factor and even criticized smaller media tablets. Nonetheless, many of Apple rivals, such as Amazon, Google, Samsung Electronics and some others are enjoying great demand for their 7"-class slates. In addition, the iPad mini 7.85" will likely be less expensive to make than the third-gen iPad 9.7", which will let Apple to offer them at lower price that the full-sized model that starts at $499. This will strenghten Apple's positions on the media tablets market. Last quarter the company sold 17 million iPad media tablets. Provided that iPad mini does not cannibalize sales of 9.7" model, with 25 - 30 million tablets shipped in Q4, the company's positions will not only remain unchallenged, but will even get stronger.