Barry Eitel

Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and unveiled new Apple product after new Apple product to loud acclaim.

The new, completely redesigned iPhone 5! A slim iPod Touch! An iPod Nano with a pedometer! A retooled version of iTunes! I know what I want Santa to bring me!

But as the Foo Fighters rocked out after Cook finished, many technophiles were left cold. Where was the iPad Mini?

Many were expecting a “oh yeah, I got one more thing to show you”-style surprise twist ending with Cook bringing out a tiny iPad—a product that could shake up the tech universe much like the original iPad of 2010, the iPod of 2001 or the iPhone of 2007. There was palpable disappointment around the blogosphere that Cook presented exactly what everyone thought he was going to present.

The iPad Mini is a rumored 7 or 8 inch cousin of the 10 inch iPad. For the record, Apple has been completely silent on the iPad Mini (or the iPad Nano, according to who you ask). Steve Jobs himself thought a small iPad would be stupid. Apple has no release date, specs or even a name of this mythical product.

Still, many Apple lovers are positive the iPad Mini is in production right now in some well-protected factory in a tucked away corner of China. Even without hard evidence, it seems the existence of the iPad Mini is fact. The question isn’t whether Apple is creating an iPad Mini, but when will it be released?

Alongside Apple’s official release this week, a French blog posted photos of what could be the iPad Mini. The blurry photos show off the Apple logo, a camera and the classic white case that we all associate with Apple. A photo also places the cases of several devices, including an iPad, an iPhone 4S, an iPhone 5 and the potential iPad Mini, inside each other for scale. The blog was quick to point out, though, that the photos could be of a “Chinese clone.”

While Jobs might have been against the idea, the market suggests there is a place for a smaller iPad. The Kindle Fire from Amazon and Google’s Nexus 7, two tablets that are dipping into Apple’s domination of the tablet market, are both 7 inches. An iPad Mini would probably be cheaper. It would also fit easily inside a woman’s purse.

Many now think an iPad Mini would be released in October for the holidays. We shall see.