Apple’s iPad mini unveiling reportedly set for Oct. 23 by Philip Elmer-DeWitt @FortuneMagazine October 12, 2012, 1:06 PM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons The iPad and a mock-up of its little sister. Image: 9to5Mac FORTUNE — The drumroll in advance of the so-called iPad mini is getting deafening. AllThingsD‘s John Paczkowski — who is rarely wrong about these things — reported Friday that “people familiar with Apple’s plans” tell him that the company will introduce a new, smaller version of the 9.8-inch iPad on Oct. 23 — nearly a week later than we had predicted. According to Paczkowski, the unveiling will occur at an invitation-only event, probably at the Apple’s AAPL Town Hall auditorium in Cupertino. Beyond that, he says, details are slim: “Sources say the iPad’s diminutive sibling will feature a 7.85-inch liquid-crystal display and a Lightning connector. It will also probably be thinner. And that’s about it.” Meanwhile, Topeka’s Brian White, who is wrapping up a tour of Apple’s Asian component suppliers, reported Friday that he has held what he believes to be a prototype of the iPad mini. He writes: We uncovered over twenty suppliers that showed us accessories for the iPad Mini (some already have the accessories boxed, labeled and ready for order) and we actually had the opportunity to play with a pilot iPad Mini used by one of the vendors. This 7.85-inch iPad Mini fit our hands like a glove and we were easily able to tuck the device in our sport coat, offering consumers a more mobile iPad experience for certain use cases. Last week, we highlighted the improved aesthetics of the new device and we believe consumers will like this improved feel to the back casing. Also, the fatigue factor is less of an issue given the lighter weight and smaller size.