Report: iPad mini accessories waiting for Apple announcement to start shipping

Third-party accessory makers in Asia appear well-prepared for Apple’s expected Oct. 23 launch of a smaller iPad. Nearly two dozen Asian add-on manufacturers have gadgets all set to sell when the reported 7.85-inch ‘iPad mini’ is finally unveiled, according to a Wall Street analyst.

Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White said he met accessory makers during a tour of Asia and found some add-on products already boxed-up and ready for shipping. At one point, White even handled a “pilot” version of the smaller iPad, which “he was easily able to keep in his coat pocket,” according to AppleInsider

Electronics retail giant Best Buy has supposedly begun receiving boxes that include warnings for employees not to open. The boxes reportedly contain store displays created for expected iPad mini accessories. According to one China company’s mockup, the new iPad features a thinner profile and Apple’s smaller Lightning connector, as well as the 7.85-inch screen.

Despite the claims of advance knowledge, one “major accessory maker” stopped producing iPad mini cases after learning of a design change, writes the blog, citing a Japanese report. Apple is known for keeping accessory makers guessing until the last moment. In 2011, some add-ons which bet on reports of a redesigned iPhone were left holding the bag after the Cupertino, Calif. company introduced the iPhone 4S with essentially the same design as previous versions of the popular smartphone.

What do you think? Will the iPad mini likely match those designs leaked to the press, or will the upcoming announcement by Apple include surprises?