More rumors that an iPad Mini is on the way--with an October 23 date

10/12/2012 3:47 pm EST

Focus: STOCKS

Jim Jubak

Founder and Editor, JubakPicks.com

More rumors today that Apple plans to unveil an iPad Mini. Bloomberg, quoting an unnamed source, pegs October 23 as the date of an announcement event.

An iPad Mini—with a 7-inch to 8-inch screen instead of the current 9.7-inch screen on the iPad and a price of $299 or less instead of the iPad 2’s $399—has been a heavily anticipated product based on analyst assumptions that Apple would have to produce a cheaper iPad to battle tablets from Google (Nexus 7 16GB $249), Amazon (Kindle Fire 7-inch screen and 8GB  $175), and Microsoft. (Apple now has 61% of the tablet market, according to Gartner.)

It’s not clear now big a boon an iPad Mini would be to Apple’s bottom line. Would the iPad Mini cannibalize iPad sales as people who would have bought a more expensive iPad 2 buy the Mini instead? Or would the Mini produce incremental sales by taking customers away from Google, Amazon, and Microsoft?

Whatever the answer to that question, an iPad Mini would certainly ratchet up what is increasingly tough competition in the tablet space and make it harder for Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG), and Microsoft (MSFT) to gain enough traction so that they could actually make money on their hardware.

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