|By Maureen O'Gara||
|October 19, 2012 12:32 PM EDT||
After foiling press prophecies last week about when the media would get invitations to the supposedly thinner 7.85-inch iPad mini's unveiling the precious suggestive invites arrived the other day.
The widget, whose existence Apple has yet to acknowledge and addresses competition from Samsung. Google and Amazon, will apparently appear October 23, three days before Microsoft is scheduled to trot out its Apple-rivaling Windows 8 ARM-based Surface tablets, which will start at $499 like the entry-level iPad.
The mini's price is rumored to be $249 or $299 with 8GB of storage. Some think it may start at $199, where the Amazon Kindle and Google Nexus 7 start. The older iPad 2 is now available for $399.
Apple is supposed to have 10 million mini units on order this quarter and Apple Insider reports that it come with various storage (8GB to 64GB) and connectivity (Wi-Fi-only, 3G and 4G LTE) options - totaling 24 different models - because it comes in black or white.
Piper Jaffray estimates seven-inch tablets will constitute 20% of tablet sales in 2012, rising to 25% in 2014.
Apple may also update the Mac mini.
It'll post its quarterly numbers on October 25. They may show the initial performance of the hard-to-get new iPhone 5. Its manufacturer says it's "the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled." The Apple web site says it'll take four weeks to deliver.
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