According to The Wall Street Journal Asian suppliers for Apple have started production of a 7.8-inch iPad. The Apple 2.0 blog is also speculating that the iPad mini invitations are set to be mailed out on October 10th with an October 17th unveiling with sales to beginning in early November.
Apple has yet to confirm any of these rumors. There appears to be enough leaks and enough creditable sources reporting on the new iPad to assume that it’s coming in the very near future. Prices points will most likely be around $250-$350. I would prefer to see a $199 iPad and I personally think that would make the most sense considering that the biggest competitor for a 7inch tablet is the Kindle Fire which happens to be priced at $199.
The iPad Mini is also speculated to have the new lighting port and a more square look according to this photo posted on Cnet.