Oct. 1, 2012 at 5:46 PM ET
We've heard plenty of rumors about a mini iPad, but so far Apple's been quiet when it comes to confirming the device's existence. Now we're hearing that the Cupertino-based company might finally announce the new tablet on Oct. 17.
According to Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt, a major Apple investor claims to have heard from multiple sources that members of the press will receive invitations to an Apple event on Oct. 10. History suggests that this would mean that the actual event would have to take place on Oct. 17 and that whatever's announced would likely hit shelves on the Friday of the following week, which would be Oct. 26.
(It may not be a coincidence that this timing aligns far too closely with the launch of Microsoft's own Surface tablet, a possibility that no doubt is unnerving some Microsoft marketing folks.)
Not much is known about the mini iPad (or "iPad Mini") so far though. Based on the most reliable (and common) reports, this tablet should be close to eight inches diagonally (rather than 9.7 inches like the current models), have a plain — as in non-Retina — display, and be priced somewhere in the $250 range (to compete with Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's newest Kindle Fire).
Leaked parts suggest that the device will have a Lightning connector like the iPhone 5 and be offered in your choice of black or white. Both 9to5 Mac's Seth Weintraub and Apple watcher John Gruber agree that chances are high that this smaller tablet will look a lot like a large iPod Touch, with a smaller bezel, but the operating system will likely be identical to a standard-size iPad.
That's all we know for now. We'll keep Oct. 17 circled on our calendars in hopes that we'll find out more once it comes around.
Want more tech news or interesting links? You'll get plenty of both if you keep up with Rosa Golijan, the writer of this post, by following her on Twitter, subscribing to her Facebook posts, or circling her on Google+.