We’re seeing a much better timetable emerging for the iPad Mini release date, it looks like there are much firmer dates and release schedule lining up for the iPad Mini release. These are completely unconfirmed by Apple, as always, but come from increasingly reliable people going both on the record and off the record as to the iPad Mini release date. There also great new iPad Mini photos of what it will look like, which you can see farther below.
Philip Elmer-DeWitt at CNN's Apple 2.0 blog dropped an unconfirmed dime that iPad Mini event invitations will happen this week on Oct. 10th, saying "According to our source, who asked not be named, there appears to be some truth to the widespread rumors that Apple is preparing to launch a smaller and cheaper version of the iPad -- often called the iPad mini or iPad air and usually described as having a 7.85-inch screen. What our source adds is the specificity of a date: The press, he says, can expect invitations to go out on Oct. 10."
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White has been meeting with people in Taiwan on a number of things, including supply chain representatives, and had this to say: "Similar to the iPhone 5, we sensed that suppliers have found the specs around Apple's (AAPL-$671.45: Buy) 7.85-inch "iPad Mini" to be a challenge and yields have been frustrating. In our view, this is the reason the "iPad Mini" is 4-6 weeks behind our original launch expectation that we discussed in June. Despite continued yield challenges, the supply chain feels the much anticipated iPad Mini is on track to reach acceptable volume levels for a launch over the next month."
I'm not sure how reliable Phil is, as I never read his blog before, but he does work for CNN who's not in the fake rumors business. If Apple follows its usual release date cycle, then the iPad Mini event date would be a week later on Wed. Oct. 17 and the iPad Mini release date would be just over two weeks later on Friday, Nov. 2. The source was apparently a major Apple investor.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that iPad Mini production had begun in South Korea, with LG Display starting to produce a liquid-crystal display that is 7.85 inches in size, and AU Optronics in Taiwan is doing the same. AllThingsD, a notable technology website that does not traffic in the iPad rumors business, said about six weeks ago that the iPad Mini release date would be in October, with just enough time passed to not overlap the iPhone 5 release, but still be in enough time to launch before the holidays. AllThingsD is owned by the WSJ, and could have a number of overlapping contacts and resources.
Brian expects the iPad Mini price to be around $250 - $300, making it a just-barely affordable item for holiday gift giving. It's important that the iPad Mini price be something more affordable than $600 in order for it to become a bigger part of Apple's profits, the iPhone is about half of the pie and the wildly popular iPad is only about 20%. The solution? Offer another model, make it more affordable, and sell em' like hotcakes at a lower price, making it up in volume. Watch the breakdown in the video below. If this baby flies, look for the iPad Mini to be THE big status item in public in 2013.
Martin Hajek has created 3D renderings in anodized metal and black. He has stunning renderings of both a black iPad Mini and and an anodized metal iPad Mini. There are concept images below, but by all means, go to the Martin Hajek web site to see more, he has both still images and interactive 3d models.