Oct. 3, 2012 -- You didn't think the iPhone 5 and a family of new iPods were all Apple had in store for this season? After months of rumors about an iPad Mini, new reports suggest that the launch of the long-speculated tablet is close.
Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt has reported that Apple is planning to send out press invitations to an event on Oct. 10. Apple typically sends invites out close to a week before the events, which would put the event at Oct. 17. The tablet itself would go on sale on Nov. 2, DeWitt reports. ABC News previously reported that Apple would hold an iPad Mini launch event in October.
On the heels of that rumor, The Wall Street Journal has reported that the production on the smaller tablet has begun. As previously rumored, the tablet will have a 7.85-inch display with a lower resolution than the current iPad, which has a 9.7-inch Retina display. The Journal reports that LG began mass production of the screens last month.
And then there have been leaked images that would point to the smaller tablet having 3G and 4G cellular capabilities and an aluminum body. It is expected that the tablet would also use the new Lightning connector found on the iPhone 5.
Steve Jobs once said that the 7-inch tablet market was "dead on arrival." However, an internal Apple email revealed in the Apple v. Samsung trial revealed the Jobs had warmed up to the idea before his death, which was a year ago this week.
"I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one," Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, wrote in an email to Apple CEO Tim Cook and other senior Apple executives on Jan. 24, 2011.
"I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time. I found email, books, Facebook, and video very compelling on a 7-inch. Web browsing is definitely the weakest point, but still usable," Cue said in the email.
What is described in that email is what the smaller iPad would likely be marketed as -- a smaller device that complements the current iPad. While the iPad has grown in popularity for many people as a computer replacement, the smaller iPad would likely be best for reading, browsing or watching video, similar to the smaller tablets Amazon, Google, and Barnes & Noble have released in the last few months.
Last month Amazon released its new Kindle Fire HD, which starts at $199. Similarly, Google and Asus launched the Nexus 7 in June for $199. Barnes & Noble released the Nook HD last week, which -- you guessed it -- starts at $199. There have been no reports on the pricing of an iPad Mini.
Apple's Trudy Muller declined to comment on any of the rumors when reached by ABC News.