Apple invitations to an Oct. 17 event in honor of a mini version of the iPad didn't arrive in in-boxes Oct. 10, as some news outlets had forecast.
That's because they got it all wrong, All Things D's John Paczkowski said in an Oct. 12 post. According to his sources, the unveiling of the Apple iPad Mini—if Apple even calls it that—will happen Oct. 23 at "an invitation-only event." (Not that Apple ever just throws open the doors.)
And instead of a major bash, as Apple hosted for the iPhone 5 launch—taking over San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and closing out the event with a concert by the Foo Fighters—it's likely to welcome the iPad Mini with a much smaller affair.
Paczkowski expects Apple will host the launch at its on-campus Town Hall Auditorium, where he points out that Apple "has debuted a number of important products [such as] OS X Lion, a next-generation MacBook Air and the iPhone 4S, so there's plenty of precedent."
This makes good sense. It's nicer to mix up the style of the events—two big bashes is too much dessert—and creates some nice pacing, which analysts say Apple will need, if it's to follow an iPad Mini event with the introduction of an Apple iTV in the first quarter of 2013.
The timing of an Oct. 23 event would also have the Apple-friendly effect of distracting from Microsoft's planned Oct. 26 launch of its Windows 8 platform and Surface tablet.
The Surface is a 10.6-inch tablet with a touch-screen, Intel Ivy Bridge processor, a built-in kickstand and a cover that doubles as a keyboard. Microsoft is marketing it as a complete PC workstation in the form of a tablet and a "stage for Windows."
In creating both the software and the hardware, Microsoft made clear that it is more aggressively going after Apple, which for years has mocked it as the loser to Apple's cool kid.
If the Surface's June launch said this subtly, at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in July, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer didn't mince words.
"We are not going to let any piece of this [go uncontested to Apple]," Ballmer shouted, according to CRN. "Not the consumer cloud. Not hardware or software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch."
It's rumored that Microsoft is also preparing its own smartphones running Windows Phone 8.
The iPad Mini—which won't compete directly with the Surface but is nonetheless likely to redirect sales—is expected to feature a 7.85-inch display, front and back cameras, and iOS 6, despite the well-reported shortcomings of its Maps app. As with the iPhone 5, users can also expect Apple's new 9-pin Dock connector. Less certain but still likely are an extremely thin, iPad-like design, a starting price of $249 or $299 and 8GB of on-device storage.
In an August research note, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who has been expecting an iTV and an iPad Mini for some time, described the future by writing, "We believe Apple's product leadership, vertical integration and vast scale mean that it will receive the lion's share of the economic benefit from the three biggest multi-year trends in technology: smartphones, 4G and tablets."