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Apple's iPad Mini 'to debut in November 2012'

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Journalists getting to grips with the new iPad

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Apple's much rumoured new small screen iPad could get its own dedicated launch event in November rather than debut earlier alongside the new iPhone, a report has claimed.

According to speculation this week, the next-generation of the iPhone is expected to arrive at an Apple event on September 12, and then go on sale later in that month.

It was therefore assumed that Apple will use the event to also announce the iPad Mini, the firm's rumoured new tablet with a sub-8-inch screen that would compete with Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire.

However, iLounge's sources claim that the iPad Mini will not be ready to ship at the same time as the new iPhone, and so could have its own launch event, possibly in November.

The sources also said that Apple is currently working on smaller versions of the iPad Smart Cover and iPad Smart Case for the iPad Mini device.

Stories citing unnamed sources should be approached with caution, but there would be sense in Apple not wanting to allow the iPad Mini to get lost in the mass of attention around a new iPhone launch.

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This is particularly because a small screen iPad would mark a major shift in Apple's strategy since it entered the tablet market in 2010.

The iPad Mini, which could retail for under $300, is being viewed as key to Apple maintaining its dominant position in the worldwide market for computer slates, particularly with growing competition from Google Android and soon Windows 8 devices.

Alongside the iPad Mini, iLounge said that Apple is working on a fourth generation of the 9.7-inch iPad, although its sources say that this will only bring modest enhancements, such as Apple's new 19-pin connector, a rear-side microphone and engineering changes to prevent the device overheating due to the Retina screen.

Discussing the new mic, iLounge said: "The rear-side mic might aid in noise cancellation or improve audio quality during rear video recording, and is apparently just like one found on the iPhone 5, between the camera and flash; prototype iPad minis apparently have a mic on the back in the same place."

The site's sources believe that Apple will wait until spring 2013 to release the iPad 4, suggesting that the firm will not want to crowd out the iPad Mini this year, or anger consumers who only shelled out for the iPad 3 in March.

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