Source: iPad Mini Will Hit Stores And Ship To Early Buyers November 2

Apple’s iPad mini is almost certainly set to be announced next week at an event in San Jose Tuesday, and we’re now hearing that it will ship a week and a half after that unveiling. November 2 is the ship date we’ve heard today from a source close to Apple’s supply chain, echoing an earlier report by Geeky Gadgets that that’s the day the iPad mini will go on sale.

Geeky Gadgets cited a prominent U.K. retailer as the source of its information. For the iPhone 5, the September 21 retail availability date was telegraphed ahead of time thanks to leaked information from carrier partners, and retailers have been a source of Apple-related product leaks in the past. Our own source has also previously proven reliable with unreleased Apple info.

In addition to our own source and Geeky Gadgets, 9to5Mac also tweeted that it was hearing this was the date it would be released and likely hit the first batch of pre-order buyers. It’s also the most logical choice, given Apple’s recent product announcement and release timelines. For the iPhone 5, Apple announced it on September 12, with pre-orders beginning on September 14 and devices shipping and hitting retail stores September 21. Pre-orders for the latest iPad started immediately following its announcement, and the iPad actually shipped only nine days later, however, so it isn’t yet clear whether the iPad mini’s pre-order date will be the same day as the announcement, or the Friday following, and our source had no information in that area.

Apple also probably wants to take full advantage of the holiday shopping season, so pushing for availability following closely on the heels of the announcement is a good bet. Traditionally, it enjoys considerable success during the holiday period. Apple sold 15.43 million iPads during last year’s holiday quarter, up from 7.33 million in the same period in 2011. It managed an impressive 17 million during the quarter ending June 30, 2012, however, so it could be poised for record-shattering quarter this holiday, if the iPad mini strikes a chord with users in terms of price and design.