Preview at WWDC likely in June, followed by September launch.
Component Suppliers Say Apple Has Ordered Parts for 10 Million 'iPad Minis' in 4Q 2012
Some component suppliers to Apple in Asia say they have received orders to make more than 10 million units of the smaller tablets in the fourth quarter. That is roughly double the order that were placed for Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets in the same quarter, these suppliers say.
The figure indicates that Apple believes demand for the product will be strong, despite stiff competition in the market.
Mockup of 7.85-inch "iPad mini" (courtesy of CiccareseDesign)
Just last week, the publication reported that mass production of the iPad mini had begun ahead of an introduction said to be coming at a media event sometime this month. One recent rumor has claimed that invitations for the media event will be going out this Wednesday, with the event presumably following approximately one week later.