Apple event set for Oct. 23. Investors await the iPad mini

October 16, 2012, 4:17 PM UTC

FORTUNE — On Tuesday, as predicted (although not by me). Apple (AAPL) issued press invitations to an Oct. 23 special event at the California Theater in San Jose.

Apple rumor sites, fed by leaks from the company’s Asian component suppliers, have been speculating for months that Apple would launch — just in time for the holiday selling season — a smaller version of its best-selling iPad tablet computer, this one with a 7.85-inch (rather than a 9.7-inch) screen.

Having watched Amazon (AMZN), Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Samsung create a market for tablets and e-readers in 7-inch range, Apple executives reportedly overcame Steve Jobs’ famous resistance to any tablet smaller than 9.7 inches. (He said 7-inch tablets should be shipped with sandpaper for users to sand their fingers down to one-quarter size).

If the price were right, a smaller tablet that could run 700,000 iOS apps — 250,000 of them customized for the iPad — would be, in the words of Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu, the “competition’s worst nightmare.”