Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to This Week In Apple Rumors, our regular look back at all of the week's unconfirmed gossip, questionably-sourced reports, and blatant speculation about future Apple products from around the Web! Let's take a look back at what the various Apple blogs and websites were excited about in the past week, from October 7 - 13. Check out our previous edition of Apple rumors here, and for all the latest you can follow me on Twitter right here.
There Will Very Probably Be An Apple Event On October 23
...and that event will very probably be headlined by a smaller iPad, the device that you and I and Uncle Jerry all know as the iPad Mini. Yes, it appears the Apple PR machine has leaked the date of its next party out to the general public, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/12/ipad-mini-event-october-23-apple_n_1961189.html?utm_hp_ref=technologyhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/12/ipad-mini-event-october-23-apple_n_1961189.html?utm_hp_ref=technology" target="_hplink">and that date is indeed October 23rd</a>. <a href="http://allthingsd.com/20121012/apple-likely-to-unveil-ipad-mini-at-october-23-event/">AllThingsD</a>, <a href="http://www.imore.com/apple-ipad-mini-event-indeed-likely-be-held-tuesday-october-23">iMore</a>, <a href="http://www.loopinsight.com/2012/10/12/apples-rumored-oct-23-ipad-mini-event/">Jim Dalrymple</a>, <a href="http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/apple-likely-to-introduce-smaller-ipad-in-october-event/">the New York Times</a>, and <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/video/apple-expected-to-unveil-mini-ipad-october-23-~r9QM9unR~yYI7~GDycHkw.html">Bloomberg </a>all agree: There's going to be a party thrown by Apple on the 23rd, and the star of that party will be a smaller iPad (and it can cry if it wants to). With all those reputable sources reporting, you can pretty much guarantee that October 23rd is a lock. If you don't believe that Apple is behind these leaks, then I've gotten some <em>shocking </em>evidence that Barack Obama's birth certificate isn't as authentic as our so-called "president" says it is. So: Event date is October 23rd; I would expect invites on either Monday or Tuesday of this week, at noon. If the event is October 23rd (a Tuesday), the release date should be 9 or 10 days after, with availability in stores around Halloween. "Obnoxious iPad Mini Owner" could be this year's hottest costume (for women, obviously, that costume would be "Sexy Obnoxious iPad Mini Owner"). But aside from the date of the event, and the likely release date, we still have so many questions about the iPad Mini. We think that it's going to have a 7.85-inch display -- a little larger than that of the Kindle Fire or Nexus 7, which both have 7.0-inch screens -- and we're pretty sure it's going to be running iOS and have an Apple logo on the back. But beyond that, this is a pretty mysterious little device.
Will The iPad Mini Event Focus On...Books?
A <a href="http://thenextweb.com/apple/2012/10/12/apples-hypothetical-ipad-mini-event-to-have-strong-ibooks-focus/">report from The Next Web</a>, immediately following the Grand Leaking of the Date, claims that much of the focus will be on reading, and its iBooks service. A better reading experience is one widely acknowledged major advantage of a 7-inch tablet over a 10-inch tablet like the iPad, so that makes sense to me! The oft-repeated line about an iPad Mini is that it is Apple's defense against cheaper tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, both of which are more comfortable to hold while reading. With the larger screen iPad providing for more immersive movie-watching, the iPad Mini would be Apple's book-readin' gadget. One possible snag: <a href="http://www.informationweek.com/hardware/handheld/ipad-mini-wont-have-retina-display/240008372">Preliminary rumors have said</a> that the display on the iPad Mini will be less-than-Retina quality, to keep costs down. If that's true, Apple might have a hard time convincing shoppers to opt for an iPad over the excellent screens on both the Kindle Fire HD and the NOOK HD, the forthcoming 7-inch tablet from Barnes & Noble. Both have terrific screens, and if Apple truly wants to sell the Mini as an eReader alternative, it better have a high-definition screen in tow.
Will The iPad Mini Be WiFi Only? And How Much Will It Cost?
Another big question facing the iPad Mini: Will Apple offer 3G or 4G options, as it does with the iPad? A recent rumor (rumour?) <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/oct/09/ipad-mini-wifi-uk-4g">from The Guardian</a> has Apple making WiFi-only versions of the iPad Mini at first. The Kindle Fire HD, NOOK HD, and Nexus 7 are all WiFi-only, as well. The report also states that Apple will also be releasing updated versions of the Big iPad, with the new Lightning Connector port, an update which I'm sure everyone who bought the new iPad just six months ago will just <em>love</em>. Another looming question on everyone's mind: How much will the iPad Mini cost? Right now, you've got the Kindle Fire HD, NOOK HD, and Nexus 7 all going for $199; the Kindle Fire classic costs just $159. Most guesses have placed the iPad Mini's price at either $249 or $299, though I've also seen estimates as high as $349 and as low as $199. With the iPad 2 selling for $399, I think $349 will prove too costly; with Apple generally going for high profit margins on its iDevices, I think $199 is too low. So, yeah, I would guess either $249 or $299 will be the final price and probably the largest surprise about the iPad Mini, and the single detail that could determine its success. (Though, let's be honest: The way Apple is going, a smaller iPad will be successful no matter what. Just how successful will depend, though, on how low the price can go). Oh, and here's one more question about the iPad Mini: What else is Apple going to talk about on October 23rd? Because at all of these Apple shindigs -- the iPhone event, the iPad event, the iOS event -- there's always a large supporting cast in the lead-up to the main attraction. Last time around, with the iPhone 5, we also got a set of new iPods and a new iTunes. What's going to pop up this time?
Will The iPad Mini Be Joined By A New Retina MacBook Pro?
We've been expecting a Retina MacBook Pro with 13-inch screen to join the Retina MacBook Pro with 15-inch screen for a few months now; in fact, it had been (erroneously) reported that the smaller Retina MBP would be announced at the iPhone 5 event. But with Apple introducing a smaller iPad on October 23rd, we've gotta ask: Will it also introduce a smaller Retina MacBook? <a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20121011PD200.html?mod=3&q=APPLE">Digitimes reported this week</a> that Apple's suppliers are having some trouble mass producing the screens, which could affect availability; though it does reiterate that the iPad Mini, a Retina MacBook Pro with 13-inch screen, and a new iMac are expected by the end of October. <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57528390-37/13-inch-retina-macbook-pro-on-track-says-analyst/?part=rss&subj=news&tag=title">Analyst JK Shim also</a> sees that new Retina MBP arriving in October, as does renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities. If Apple doesn't debut a new Retina MacBook Pro on the 23rd, in other words, there are gonna be a lot of folks with a lot of egg on their faces. Get out your Wet Naps, just in case. That's all for This Week In Apple Rumors. Make sure you join us again next week, when I'll write this entire column with yolk dripping from my eyelids and streaming down my cheeks.