This month, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is widely expected to unveil a smaller iPad, coloquially known as the Mini. The company certainly hasn't confirmed or denied anything, especially the presumed existence of said device, much less any specific dates. Other outlets have also pegged October as the expected time frame, but left any exact dates up in the air.

We can now officially welcome the first rumor regarding when investors might be able to expect a product unveiling. Fortune's Apple 2.0 is now reporting a speculative rumor that Apple is planning on sending out media invites to an iPad Mini event on Oct. 10. The company typically sends out invites about a week ahead of events, which would put the unveiling at Oct. 17 if it turns out accurate.

The report then guesses that Nov. 2 would be a fitting launch date, although I think Oct. 26 would be more apt. That would be just nine days after unveiling, and also coincide nicely with the launch of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows 8. With tablets being a big part of the software giant's new platform, an iPad Mini could threaten to spoil Mr. Softy's festivities.

A Redmond party isn't the only one that might get ruined, as Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) just launched its new Kindle Fire HD lineup, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) appears to be enjoying strong sales of its Nexus 7, and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) similarly refreshed its own Nook tablet family. Both Amazon and B&N are moving up to challenge the iPad in the full-sized market with 8.9-inch and 9-inch flavors, respectively.

A move down-market by Apple is seen as a potentially major threat to the success these rivals have been enjoying in the 7-inch tablet market. iPad Mini day might be just around the corner.

 
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