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It is nearly cast in stone that Apple is set to formally introduce its iPad mini media tablet with 7.85” screen on October 23, 2012. On Friday a web-site reported citing sources in the retail channel that Apple and its partners will start to sell iPad mini on November 2, 2012, in line with general practices of the company to start actual sales about a week after introduction.

A source close to major UK retailer told Geeky-Gadgets web-site that Apple and its partners will initiate sales of the forthcoming iPad mini on Friday, November 2, 2012. As usually, the first batch of iPad mini will be available the U.S. and the key markets in Europe, such as the U.K., France, Germany and some other. The November 2 commercial release date of the iPad mini looks logical because the company usually starts to sell its products about a week after formal introductions.

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. Earlier this month 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.

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.

Tags: Apple, iPad, iOS, Amazon, Google, Kindle, Nexus, Samsung, Galaxy Tab

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