Phantom iPad Mini 'delayed'

The iPad Mini is delayed, according to an Asia-based report. But that's only meaningful if the original rumor about an October iPad Mini announcement was true.

Rumors about an iPad Mini arriving in October have taken a shellacking over the last couple of days.

First, the expected October 10 invites didn't go out. Now a report in Digitimes claims there's a production delay -- a delay that could mean the device won't show up till after October.

If there is a device. The iPad Mini is, of course, an unconfirmed product to begin with. So it's hard to say with a straight face that a rumored product can actually be delayed.

(Update: A report now says the event will take place on October 23. )

That said, a lot of reliable speculation points to a real product, so let's look -- with eyebrows accordingly raised -- at the latest iPad Mini delay rumor.

"Shipments of Apple's new products -- a Retina Display 13-inch MacBook Pro, 7.85-inch iPad and iMac -- have...been delayed from September to October."

Let's leave the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro Retina rumor on the table for now and focus on the highly anticipated iPad Mini.

Interpreting Digitimes -- or the supply chain in general -- is never easy, but it would appear that October shipments would imply delivery from Apple sometime after October.

And Digitimes goes on to cite "low yields" for components such as the iPad Mini's chassis.

I asked IHS iSuppli's tablet analyst, Rhoda Alexander, what she thought about that, with the understanding that claims about a delay could be suspect themselves.

"If they're trying to do the same thing they did with iPhone 5, where they go to a more molded chassis and push the boundaries of industrial design, it is possible that would cause some production delays," according to Alexander.

And she couldn't resist commenting on the rumors themselves. "There are so many rumors about Apple out there, and so many of them are wrong."

Right or wrong, expect plenty of rumors in the coming days and weeks if the iPad Mini doesn't materialize in the anticipated time frame.

And what about a 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro? NPD DisplaySearch has been expecting shipments in the fourth quarter but has never committed to any shipment date for Apple. So, that falls into the wait-and-see category.

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