iPad Mini Name, Separate Apple Event 'Confirmed': Reports

Apple will call its smaller tablet the iPad Mini and hold a separate event to introduce the device, says reports, "confirming" the news as much as is possible without word from Apple.

Apple's smaller iPad will most certainly, almost definitely be called the "iPad Mini," Japanese tech site Macotakara reported Aug. 28, keeping the rumor mill turning with its confirmation of a name for a device Apple has yet to acknowledge it's developing.

Macotakara's news, which it says is based on sources in Asia, comes after months of the industry already referring to the tablet as the iPad Mini. The device is expected to feature a 7.85-inch XGA display and likely is already in production. The Wall Street Journal reported July 5 that component suppliers had been alerted to ready themselves for "mass production of the smaller tablet."

What is new is Macotakara's report that there is a "mysterious hole" beside the iSight camera. The hole is similar to the WiFi antenna on the third-generation iPod Touch, says the site, and is "covered by front glass."

Could this be infrared burst technology, like Samsung included in the Galaxy Note 10.1? The technology enables the newest Note to be paired with an HDTV (hopefully one made by Samsung, executives half-joked at the Note 10.1's launch event) and used as a universal remote. Analysts expect Apple to release a television either later this year or in early 2013, and certainly it will want to link its newest products as much as is possible.

Still more "confirmation" of Apple news comes from All Things D, which has reported that Apple will hold separate press events to introduce the iPad Mini and its newest iPhone. While it has been widely rumored that Apple will introduce the iPhone 5 (another unconfirmed device name) Sept. 12 and begin shipping the smartphone Sept. 21, All Things D's sources point to an October timeframe for the iPad Mini's introduction.

Such a plan makes good sense. As John Gruber on the Daring Fireball has suggested, it can't possibly benefit Apple to dilute a news announcement that's been a year in the making. And indeed, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek earlier this month forecast that the iPhone 5 will bring about "the biggest handset launch in history."

Misek, also addressing the dilution issue in his Aug. 17 research note, wrote that an Apple TV will likely be ready to ship during the fourth quarter, but "we do not know how many major product announcements Apple would want to cram into Sept./Oct./Nov. and see a [first-quarter 2013] launch as possible."

Among the rumors, a Sept. 12 iPhone 5 introduction seems the likeliest. If Apple's competitors aren't privy to its timetables through manufacturing channels, then they've also bought into the mid-September timeframe, and a number of them have scheduled events-and likely device launches-for earlier in the month.

Nokia has invited some members of the press to a Sept. 5 event, where it will almost certainly introduce its newest smartphone (or smartphones) running Microsoft's Windows Phone 8. Motorola also has a New York-based event planned for that day, while Amazon plans to make news in Los Angeles Sept. 6.

Let the wishing and ogling and spending begin.

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.