iPad Mini set for launch this fall: report

The Apple iPad Mini will reportedly launch in October, a month after the new iPhone. 

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The iPad Mini will be sized somewhere between the iPhone and the iPad – and it will be showcased by Apple as soon as this fall. 

That's the word today from John Paczkowski of All Things D, who says that Apple will debut the iPad Mini in October, in order not to interfere with the September launch of the iPhone 5. Now before we dive too deeply into the swirling swamps of speculation, it's worth noting here that Apple has never confirmed the existence of an iPad Mini; Paczkowski, for his part, is relying on anonymous sources. 

At the same time, we're not talking about a dubious report from a minor-league tech publication. We're talking about a blog, in the words of InformationWeek, that has been "so accurate with Apple rumors, we swear Kara Swisher must have some incriminating photos of Jony Ive on hand." (Kara Swisher is a lead correspondent for All Things D, and Jony Ive, as Horizons readers will remember, is the newly-knighted Apple design chief.) 

So what, exactly, is the market for the iPad Mini? Well, Apple is probably targeting users who want a full-featured tablet that is also hyper portable (although the new iPad isn't exactly huge – the thing takes up no more room in a backpack than a glossy magazine). The Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire are good examples of this genre, and both have sold well. 

However, points out Adrian Kingsley-Hughes of ZDNet, in order to compete with Amazon and Google, Apple will need to keep the price on the iPad Mini low. 

"What we can say with certainty about the iPad Mini is that it would ideally need to be priced at or below $299 in order to remain competitive in the face of the iPad 2 and 3," Kingsley-Hughes writes. "Given that back in March research firm iSuppli estimated that it cost Apple some $245 to make the revamped iPad 2, hitting that price point could be tricky, but it is doable, even taking into account Apple's bounteous profit margins."

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