Rumor: Apple Orders 10 Million iPad Minis

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According to The Wall Street Journal, component makers in Asia say they have received orders for more than 10 million of the rumored but not yet unannounced iPad mini in the fourth quarter. That is roughly twice what Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) reportedly ordered for the Kindle Fire for the same period.

Previous reports indicated that the smaller tablet is already in production, and it appears that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) believes there will be a strong market demand for a smaller, less expensive tablet during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Rumors about the iPad mini have swirled for months. It is expected to feature a 7.85-inch display and a price tag far cheaper than the larger tablet. Still, it will face stiff competition from rivals including Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire and Google Inc.'s (NASDAQ: GOOG) $199 Nexus 7 tablet. According to market research firm iSuppli, Apple's share of the worldwide tablet market fell to 69.6% in the second quarter, down from almost 84% in 2010.

Media invitations to the launch of Apple's newest tablet are expected to be sent out later this week, with the new device introduced on October 17, followed by a launch date of November 7.

Apple, following its long-standing practice, has said nothing regarding these rumors.

Apple's shares are trading down about 1.3% just after the opening bell to $644.13 in a 52-week range of $363.32 to $705.07.

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