Updated from 9:47 a.m. EST to provide additional comments regarding prospects for Apple's stock in the tenth and twelfth paragraphs.
NEW YORK (
) -- If you needed anymore proof that an iPad Mini exists, you're about to get it.
(AAPL - Get Report)
is reportedly getting ready to announce its iPad Mini soon.
The Wall Street Journal
that Apple's Asian suppliers have started production on the 7.85-inch tablet, which is rumored to be announced later this month. Apple may send out invitations as soon as Oct. 10 for the event, with the actual announcement coming Oct. 17.
Apple iPad Mini Rumor Roundup
With Apple announcing so many products this year (iPhone 5, new Macs, new iPad and now an iPad Mini), what does the new tablet mean for investors?
It could be big for investors, said Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu. "Like other products, lower price points tend to drive sales. An iPad Mini we think would likely drive incremental iPad buyers," Wu said in a phone interview with
. "There's going to be some cannibalism of iPad sales, but we think it makes a lot of sense." Wu rated Apple shares buy with price target of $840.
The smaller tablet may also be slightly thinner than the iPad 2, and have a similar thickness to the iPod Touch. It's also possible that Apple includes its new A6 chip, which is in the iPhone 5, or may use the A5X, which is in the new iPad.
Given cost constraints, it's possible that the smaller device will not have Long Term Evolution (LTE) capabilities or Retina Display, but
President Eric Jackson doesn't think that will be a big deal.
"Selling more units equals more profits, which should be a boost to the stock," Jackson said in an email to
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said there wasn't a market for a 7-inch tablet, that the reason Apple wouldn't make it is because "...we think the screen is too small to express the software." However, recent internal documents showed that Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, argued for a smaller tablet in early 2011, as there was shown to be a market for it.