It’s the new iPad mini… or not… yes it is… well maybe

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What started out as rumours many months ago, has now “sort of” been confirmed, according to cnet, as Asian component makers say they have received orders of 10-million units for the last quarter of 2012, for the as yet unconfirmed iPad Mini. Apple has up to date declined to confirm the plans for this quite highly anticipated product.

Even though the Cupertino based company is keeping mum, information from a “major Apple investor” who heard from “multiple sources” has told Fortune’s Phillip Elmer-Dewitt that press release invitations will be sent out on 10 October 2012, possibly followed by a launch event a week later.

For the most part this is sounding to be typical of Apple’s way of doing things, keeping with tradition on how it would announce most of its other products through the years. The orders, on average double the amount for Amazon’s Kindle Fire, are surely adding fuel to the fire. If rumours are true, this “mini” iPad will compete directly with the Kindle and Google’s Nexus 7, as yet an untapped market for Apple. Most pundits are expecting that it would dominate the so-called 7 inch market if Apple manages to sell it for under the US$300 mark.

Looking at the tech giant’s current product list, it is clear that there is an opening for a more affordable and slightly smaller tablet. As RBS analyst Wanli Wang said to Wall Street Journal: “iPad mini will be a big hit if Apple prices it below US$300″

As rumours mount up, many are speculating that the iPad mini will have a 7.85 inch screen with a resolution of 1026 x 768 pixels. It might possibly be without its signature retina display to bring cost down.

According to Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, 17 million iPads was sold in the previous quarter, 84 percent more than the year before, and are expecting to top 24 million sales for December, according to investment bank Deutsche Bank.

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