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Ihnatko: iPad Mini may come in October — or not

FILE - In this March 7 2012 file phoan Associated Press reporter holds up new iPad during an event San

FILE - In this March 7, 2012 file photo, an Associated Press reporter holds up the new iPad during an event in San Francisco. Rumors of a smaller iPad, or “iPad mini” have percolated ever since the first iPad was launched two years ago. This time around, they’re fed by media reports from South Korea, China and Taiwan, saying Apple has ordered Samsung screens that are 7.86 inches measured on the diagonal. That would make for a screen about half the size of the current iPad, which has a diagonal measurement of 9.7 inches. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

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Updated: November 5, 2012 11:35AM

Are we going to see an iPad Mini this year, or not? Let’s put this week’s data against the Apple Rumor checklist.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, is reporting that the device has gone to manufacturing. Check. Neither the WSJ nor the New York Times is infallible on Apple rumors. But when either one runs a story about an unannounced Apple product, I suspect that they got their info from either someone who definitely wasn’t supposed to talk, or someone who was definitely supposed to talk to one of these two papers on a specific date under conditions of anonymity.

An obscure site,, and no, I hadn’t heard of it either, has posted photos, purportedly of iPad Mini case components. Check. As a release date nears, more people must be waved into the pool of the Informed and that’s when more data splashes out. The back plate and front bezel have Apple markings (though they’re less than 100 percent convincing), and the size of these parts support the popular idea that the Mini will have a 7.85-inch screen.

Good stuff. Two Rumor boxes remain unchecked: rumors of a specific date for an Apple media event, and the collection of terse confirmations from specific bloggers. Jim Dalrymple of, for example, is famous for linking to a published rumor and commenting with a lonely “Yup.” His hit rate is excellent.

I do wonder if the Mini will happen in October, however. Apple’s September iPhone 5 media event was heavily packed with announcements. They also chose to announce two software products that wouldn’t ship until October. It seems to me that if Apple knew it would be holding another event this month, it would have kept the new desktop iTunes and the revamped Store under wraps until then.

Plus, Apple doesn’t seem to be under any pressure to deliver a compact tablet this year. Google’s Nexus 7 is a swell device, but like a Woody Allen film, highly positive critical response to its release hasn’t translated to significant mainstream awareness. And the Kindle HD seems to be a “deluxe Kindle” instead of a “smaller, affordable tablet.”

Despite the imminent holiday season, I’d feel much more confident about an October or November iPad Mini ship date if the manufacturing rumors had begun to appear a couple of months ago. Photos of iPhone 5 parts started to leak out way back in May. Even though iPads don’t sell in the same tectonic numbers as iPhones, wouldn’t the lower price point of an iPad Mini urge Apple to fill the supply chain to bursting before making an announcement?

Put it this way: The iPhone 5 rumors were so solid that I booked a San Francisco flight and hotel for the Apple event weeks before it was announced. The current state of the “iPad Mini in October” rumors isn’t even good enough for me to risk frequent-flier miles and ask to use a local friend’s futon.

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