Rumor Mill: Apple's 'iPad mini' event to be held Oct. 17

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may send out invitations on Oct. 10 for an Oct. 17 unveiling of a smaller iPad tablet, according to a Fortune report.

The rumor mill around the so-called "iPad mini" keeps on churning, with Fortune reporting that an unnamed "major Apple investor" has heard from "multiple sources" that such an event is scheduled for later this month. The Oct. 10 invitation date seems to augur with an Oct. 17 unveiling, given Apple's event schedule history, the report noted.

An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In August AllThingsD reported that Apple would announce an iPad with an 8-inch screen or smaller in October. That follows reports in July from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal that Apple was in the final stages of preparing for the launch of a smaller iPad, which the reports said would likely have a 7-inch screen. The iPad's screen has been 9.7-inches diagonally since it was introduced in 2010.

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was "very receptive" to the idea of a 7-inch iPad by early 2011, according to evidence submitted during the patent-infringement trial between Apple and Samsung Electronics. Apple executive Eddy Cue, now the company's senior vice president of Internet software and services, said in a January 2011 email to top executives that he had spoken with Jobs in recent months about the idea and that Jobs "seemed very receptive the last time." The disclosure was notable because in October 2010 Jobs lambasted the idea of a 7-inch tablet.

A smaller iPad would compete more directly with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD line. According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, 52 percent of tablet owners reported having an iPad, down from 81 percent in Pew's 2011 survey. Android-based devices made up the remainder of the U.S. tablet market, the Pew survey found.

According to research firm IDC, the Kindle Fire represented just 5 percent of the global tablet market in the second quarter, compared with 68 percent for the iPad and 9.6 percent for Samsung Electronics' tablets. Apple has sold 67 million iPads since the device went on sale, including 11.8 million in its most recent quarter. The newest iPad has LTE capabilities and is offered by Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) in the United States.

For more:
- see this Fortune article

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