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10 million iPad minis to 'outshine' their big brother this quarter

Will we learn more on October 17? Maybe so, maybe not

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Reports have surfaced that Apple is planning for over 10 million iPad minis – or whatever they'll be called – to be available in the fourth quarter of this year, and that the design of the new 7.85-inch fondleslab could "outshine" its bigger brother, the iPad itself.

The Wall Street Jounal reported on Sunday that sources among Asian parts suppliers have said that they've received orders for more than 10 million of the smaller iPads – that's a substantially higher number than the six million original Kindle Fires that at least one analyst said that Amazon sold last holiday season.

Why such a high number? Well, another analyst cites remarks by component-maker sources that led him to a high opinion of the still-vaporous device. "Apple did not skimp on the aesthetics of the much anticipated 'iPad Mini'," Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets told AllThingsD. "In fact, we believe the 'iPad Mini' could outshine the new iPad in terms of how the device feels in a consumer's hands."

Considering that one of the complaints The Reg had about the original iPad was that it was just too darn heavy, a lighter fondleslab would most certainly feel better in our critical hands.

That "outshining" has its downsides, however. White reports that those same component suppliers told him that the li'l thing is a bear to manufacture. "The new 'iPad Mini' is more challenging to produce than prior iPad iterations," he said. "We believe supply will initially be constrained."

Ten million doesn't sound all that "constrained" to this reporter, but perhaps that high figure is merely a target, and supplies of the new, smaller iPad will be low at first, then ramp up in volume as manufactuing procedures are tweaked and if disgruntled assembly-line workers can be mollified.

Of course, as with all rumors of this type, grains of salt are to be liberally distributed to any and all Reg readers reading these and other speculations. Rumors of a smaller iPad have been kicking around since less than a week after the original iPad went on sale on April 4, 2010. They resurfaced last October, this September, and many times in between. An announcement date of a mere nine days from now – October 17 – has even been mooted, with invitations to that event said to be sent this Wednesday.

Apple, of course, is saying nothing. True to the code of Br'er Fox, CEO Time Cook, "he lay low." ®

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