What is Apple Planning for October 17?

A major Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) investor said on Monday that the company was preparing to send out invites for an iPad Mini launch event this month. The investor told Fortune he had heard from “multiple sources” that invites will be sent out on October 10 for a media event scheduled for Wednesday, October 17.

Apple has long been rumored to be preparing to launch a smaller and cheaper version of its iPad, with a 7.85-inch screen and a price tag that will let it compete with the tablets of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), among others. Analysts have been sure of an impending announcement, even projecting sales figures, though Apple has not commented on the rumor. Several leaked component images and device mockups have suggested the tablet will have a smaller bezel around the screen than the current 9.7-inch iPad, letting users easily hold it with one hand.

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Apple blogger Jim Dalrymple, known to be a company insider, had earlier hinted that Daring Fireball’s John Gruber may be right in suggesting that October would be the launch month for the new tablet. Earlier, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek had also suggested a similar time frame for the launch event.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Barclays analyst Kirk Yang wrote in a research note last week that most of the production load of the iPad Mini was being picked up by Foxconn. While Pegatron was initially rumored to be the main chosen assembler for the new device, Yang said production delays resulted in Apple falling back on its trusted Foxconn. Yang also suggested an October launch. “As most iPad component vendors ramp up shipments in September that would continue into the fourth quarter of 2012, we do not see any signs of a postponed shipment schedule, suggesting an on-time October product launch,” he wrote.

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