The last big piece of Apple’s(s AAPL) 2012 holiday strategy may be introduced very soon. On Monday, Fortune reported that Apple is planning to send out invitations to an iPad mini-focused event next Wednesday, Oct. 10. Apple typically sends invitations to its events a week in advance, which means the unveiling of Apple’s first foray into smaller tablets could come Oct. 17.
Fortune reports that the source for this information is a “major Apple investor.” The timing sounds about right: Apple prefers Wednesdays for events. And a mid-October announcement — and the ensuing press coverage — would naturally set the stage for holiday sales.
Apple hasn’t confirmed the existence of a smaller iPad product, of course, but pictures of components said to belong to a 7.85-inch iPad have been leaking out for a few months.
The company held an event in mid-September to announced the iPhone 5, more details on iOS 6, and a slew of new iPods. Apple did not include a new iPad in that presentation. It’s possible Apple didn’t want the smaller iPad to get lost in the shuffle of announcements and prefers to hold a separate event to emphasize the device’s importance. This holiday, competition is going to be fierce for shoppers looking to pick up a 7-ish inch tablet, with Google(s GOOG), Amazon(s AMZN) and Microsoft(s MSFT) competing for their attention and dollars in the next few months.