The idea of the iPad Mini has been hotly debated, and speculated upon, for months, with Apple (News - Alert) staying comparatively mum about details related to any official launch of the project. This is normally the case for Apple, but a source close to the company has supplied a report suggesting that Apple's got a big debut party in mind, set for October 23. The subject of that debut? The iPad Mini itself.
The idea of a smaller, less expensive Apple tablet has been making the rounds for some time, going back to when Steve Jobs (News - Alert) was quoted as saying that smaller tablets were "dead on arrival". While some projected that this was merely a bait-and-switch to keep other players out of that particular sandbox and force them to compete against the iPad, which even back then was king of the hill, some companies did not rise to the bait. The massive success of the Kindle Fire proved far too tempting, and companies began to follow suit with their own smaller, less expensive tablets, like the Nexus 7.
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This left Apple in the bizarre--for Apple, anyway--position of playing catch-up. The market already had plenty of small tablets on hand, but would Apple follow suit? The newest information suggests that indeed they will, and the results of that following will be quite apparent when the new smaller iPad makes its appearance at the projected event.
The date was, in all likelihood, specifically chosen; not only is October 23 a Tuesday, a day that seems common for Apple announcements and product launches, but it's also just three days ahead of the Friday launch of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system and their new Surface tablet line. This gives Apple the opportunity to get a big sales rush, common to virtually any Apple product launch of the last several years, before Microsoft (News - Alert) can even get its entrant in play.
Still, Apple may not get that kind of big sales bump this time; with the iPhone 5 only recently released, and a new iPad entirely likely to hit in the early going of 2013 to keep up with the earlier release schedules, users may not rush to the smaller iPad like other devices. However, that may not be the intent, as the small iPad is likely geared toward a specific segment of the market, specifically, those who weren't planning to buy an Apple device in the first place, but would reconsider with a sufficiently significant drop in price. This takes advantage of the down economy to offer a new value prospect to users, especially those who likely wouldn't have bought in anyway.
With October 23 about a week and a half out, it's a safe bet that Apple will have an official announcement before too much longer if this date actually pans out, but given what else will be going on around that date, it would seem like the right time for Apple to wheel out their attempt to take the small tablet market.
Edited by Brooke Neuman