Echoing a report from August alleging an October launch for the mini iPad, the usually credible Fortune cites a “major Apple investor” who has it that the Cupertino, California-headquartered consumer electronics maker is set to issue invitations for an iPad mini-related media event on October 10. When the actual presser is exactly going to take place is anyone’s guess at this point, but with invitations reportedly going out on October 10 we’re probably looking at the official unveiling on Wednesday the following week, October 17…

Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt has the story:

According to our source, who asked not be named, there appears to be some truth to the widespread rumors that Apple is preparing to launch a smaller and cheaper version of the iPad — often called the iPad mini or iPad air and usually described as having a 7.85-inch screen.

October 10 is a Wednesday, just like last month’s iPhone 5 keynote was. However, the media event itself is not due on October 10, just the invitations.

What our source adds is the specificity of a date: The press, he says, can expect invitations to go out on Oct. 10.

This would suggest an event on Wednesday the following week. And if past pressers are anything to go by, the device will be either available on the day of unveiling or shortly thereafter, meaning in late October or early November.

The author speculated as much:

If the rumor is true, and if Apple follows its usual scheduling protocol, that would suggest a special event to unveil the product on Wednesday, Oct. 17, with a launch day of Friday Nov. 2 – plenty of time to capture holiday sales.

The news is also unusual in that Apple appears to now leak upcoming event notices in advance, presumably so that the media can plan their coverage.

In years past, we’ve grown accustomed to either The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple or the Wall Street Journal-owned AllThingsD blog first receiving (and breaking) Apple’s invites to the world.

If Dalrymple gives Fortune’s report a thumbs-up, I’ll update the post immediately.

AllThingsD, a Wall Street Journal blog, reported back in August that Apple was looking to launch a smaller, inexpensive iPad at a media event in October.

Here’s a video comparing a 7.85-inch iPad mini dummy next to a 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Previously published videophotos and interactive 3D model all pointed to the skinnier bezels, presumably making the iPad mini more comfortably to hold in one’s hand.

Are you getting excited already?