Fortune reports that Apple plans to mail out invitations to the press on October 10 for a special event taking place on October 17. This is supposedly when Apple plans to reveal the much-rumored 7-inch iPad Mini tablet which, according to a previous report, may be a scaled down version of the 2nd-generation iPad 2 launched earlier this year.
Fortune makes it clear that this bit of news isn't set in stone, but rather stems from a major Apple investor who asked not to be named (naturally). It makes sense that an actual investor would spread such a rumor given that it will likely raise Apple shares. It would also make sense that Apple would reveal a 7.85-inch tablet this month given that Google, Amazon and Barnes & Noble have finally revealed their hands in the 7-inch tablet space.
Fortune speculates that the iPad Mini will launch on Friday, November 2 given that the tablet will be revealed on October 17. While that could indeed be the case, Apple may very well launch its tablet around October 26 to rain on Microsoft's Windows 8 launch parade. What better way to undercut Microsoft's own Surface than to launch a cheap, 7-inch version of the tablet sector's current flagship?
Last month an iOS developer noticed references to the iPad Mini in device stats produced by his app, Instapaper. "One iPad2,5 and one iPad2,6," said Marco Arment. "These device models, as reported by the OS, could be faked by a jailbreaker with enough free time. But I’ve never had a device show up there that didn’t end up being a real, about-to-be-released Apple device. iPad2,4 is the 32-nm die-shrunk update that quietly replaced the 16 GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 when the iPad 3 was released."
He theorized that the iPad2,5 and iPad 2,6 references could be "boring GSM and CDMA versions" of the recent die-shrunk iPad 2 so that it's not only available in a Wi-Fi model, bringing lower costs to the other iPad 2 configurations that are still for sale. Yet introducing these two iPad 2 models so late in the game would be a really strange move on Apple's part.
Instead, the entries likely refer to Wi-Fi and GSM versions of the iPad Mini. Even more, the CDMA version will likely be iPad2,7 if and when it's introduced.
Naturally Apple has declined on the report.