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While earlier reports suggested that Apple would launch its eagerly awaited iPad mini at the same event as the launch of the iPhone 5 on September 12 (date yet to be confirmed), John Paczkowski of AllThingsD now has now claimed that the iPad mini will be launched separately in October.

What we hear so far?

The rumor-mongering and speculation surrounding the iPad Mini and its features has been rife. That’s nothing new for an Apple product. But what is new is that unlike leaks that precede the launch of Apple devices, especially about the hardware components of iPhone 5, Apple has kept a tight leash on information about the iPad Mini. As a result, there is practically nothing confirmed about the iPad Mini, which is expected to have a display of less than 8 inches and the thinness of the iPod Touch.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber feels the rumored decision to create two separate launches for the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini is only logical because:

“The more I think about it, the less sense it makes for the iPhone to even share the stage at the announcement with any other product. The iPhone is too big, too cool, and garners too much attention — and it’s in Apple’s interest to keep that attention undiluted.”

iPhone 5 or the Mini: The sales winner?

However, the market suggests the company should be pinning its hopes more on the iPad Mini than its next generation phone in terms of volume of sales. Hayley Tsukayama of Washington Post quotes a study by ComScore which says: Techies are happier with their tablets, rating them higher in owner satisfaction, than their mobile phones. She goes on to say that for less affluent consumers, who have always wanted to try out Apple apps but steered clear because of the price factor, the iPad Mini would be a godsend.

Finally, here’s hoping the Mini is ‘radically’ different from the iPad

While some are wondering how radically different would the iPad Mini be from the 9.7-inch iPad (except for a suffering a considerable drop in resolution), there are no doubts that the iPad Mini’s expected launch in October, ahead of the holiday shopping spree in the United States, is a direct bid to compete with Amazon’s successful 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet and Google’s upcoming 7-inch Nexus 7 in the smaller tablet segment.

As a lighter and cheaper alternative to the New iPad and with access to iTunes and App stores, the iPad Mini could potentially wipe out its competitors in the coming months by being a more consumer-friendly and portable device than its larger cousins. For example, James Kendrick says on ZDNet that Apple would do well to market the iPad Mini as an e-book reader and suggests calling it the iBook.

For now, there is no confirmed news of how much the iPad Mini will cost, which will be the real deciding factor in the future scope of this device. Meanwhile, both the Kindle Fire tablet from Amazon and the Google Nexus 7 cost $199.