October 02, 2012, 8:30 AM — With the iPhone 5 now safely in users hands, it's time to turn our attention back to the iPad Mini, Apple's much-rumored but not-yet-official next tablet. Before last month's iPhone event, the rumor mill had the iPad Mini tagged for an October release.
Well things have changed. What we're hearing now (Fortune seems to have started this one) is that Apple will hold an event on October 17th to announce the iPad Mini, but that the device won't ship until November. The invitations will arrive on October 10th. Yup, now we're talking about rumors of invitations to announcements of rumored products!
Shipping in November instead of October shouldn't have too much of an impact on Apple as long as they target the first part of the month. If gift-buyers can get an iPad Mini on Black Friday, all will be well. Ah heck, who am I kidding? All will be well no matter when Apple ships the thing!
But let's go further down the rat hole. Cnet reports on a Japanese blog that in turn says that the new, smaller iPad is already in production in a Brazilian factory. Foxconn, Apple's infamous manufacturer, does have factories in Brazil, Cnet tells us, so the rumor fits. From Electronista we hear that Apple plans to manufacture 10 million of the things in Q4 and that production was somewhat delayed due to component shortages, which fits in with the change from a rumored October launch to a rumored November launch. Foxconn is tagged to produce 7 million and Pegatron will handle the balance, so it sounds like manufacturing duties will be split between Brazil and China.
Last week a video of a purported iPad Mini mockup hit YouTube. Assuming it's legit, it gives a decent sense of how big the Mini is. Otherwise it just looks like a smaller iPad:
What I'm most interested in is the price. When Apple announced the new $299 iPod Touch last month it kind of put the kibosh on a $249 iPad Mini. I've been trying to figure out where they slot in the Mini. The 3rd gen 10" iPad starts at $500, but the iPad 2 is still available at $400. Maybe the launch of the iPad Mini will also be end of life for the iPad 2, leaving that $400 price point available, but is $100 difference between a Mini and a iPad enough of a differentiator? I'm going to predict $349 for an 8 GB iPad Mini, $399 for a 16 GB and $499 for a 32 GB.
Anyone else care to make a prediction? Leave a comment!
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.