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7/31/2012
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iPhone 5, iPad Mini Launch Date Revealed?

Consumers eager to own Apple's next-generation mobile products may not have to wait much longer.

Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
Apple iPhone 5 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S III: What We Know
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Numerous online sources are reporting that Apple has picked a date on which to launch the latest, yet-to-be-announced versions of its mobile product line.

According to multiple reports, the iPhone 5 and so-called iPad Mini will launch in the United States on Sept. 12, which falls on the second Wednesday after Labor Day. All Things D and other news outlets said Apple will hold a "special event" the week of Sept. 9, and that the launch will occur on the 12th.

Apple has not confirmed or otherwise commented on the rumors.

Few details have emerged about the new products' features. Speculation is that iPhone 5 may wield a 4-inch screen built on in-cell touch technology, have built-in near field communications chips, a smaller, 19-pin dock connector, and run on a quad core ARM processor.

As for the iPad Mini, it's said to sport a 7- or 8-inch screen, almost two or three inches smaller than the 9.7-inch display on the current iPad, which Apple launched in March. That would put it in the same class as Amazon's Kindle Fire or Google's Nexus 7.

[ See Apple Vs. Samsung: Opening Day In $2.5 Billion Case. ]

The Wall Street Journal earlier this month reported that Apple's Asian component suppliers have already started to manufacture the parts that would make up the iPad Mini. The Journal reported that component suppliers include LG, of South Korea, and Taiwan-based AU Optronics.

Another sign pointing to new product launches from Apple is that Cupertino has ramped up its microchip purchases. It's on pace to spend $28 billion on chips this year, 15% more than last year, according to IHS iSuppli.

If the reported launch date for iPhone 5 and iPad Mini is accurate, Apple would get the latest generation of its mobile products to market ahead of rival Microsoft. Tablets that run Windows 8, including Microsoft's own 10.1-inch Surface tablet, won't hit stores until Oct. 26. Windows Phone 8 isn't expected to arrive until late October or November.

The spate of new products coming later this year will boost an already red-hot tablet market. Analysts at iSuppli expect tablet shipments to increase 85% in 2012, compared to last year, to a total of 127 million units.

Apple shares were up 1.73%, to $605.32, in opening trading Tuesday.

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