Apple is expected to hold an invitation-only event on Oct. 23 to launch a smaller iPad, according to AllThingsD. The publication quotes “people familiar with Apple’s plans” and suggests the event will take place at Apple’s Town Hall Auditorium. An iPad Mini, if Apple(s aapl) does dub a tablet with that name, is projected to see up to 8 million sales this holiday season by analysts at RBC Capital Markets.
Since the debut of the original iPad in 2010, Apple has been confident that its current 9.7-inch tablet is an ideal size for a slate. However, after using a smaller 7-inch Samsung tablet and reading our own take on the portability benefits of smaller tablets, Apple executives reconsidered the idea, at the very least and reports suggest a small iPad with a 7.85-display is coming. Adding to the company’s decision could also be the successes of recent 7-inch slates such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire(s amzn) and Google’s(s goog) Nexus 7 tablet.
With a number of product image leaks and reports of mass production appearing over the past few months, Apple likely is working on a smaller iPad. But the company is known for prototyping and testing any number of different products and form factors. Will there be an iPad Mini or iPad Air in the near future? I suspect so and we should know very shortly as invitations to the reported event would have to be sent out soon.