iPad mini announcement expected soon

Apple Inc will host an event on October 23, said a source familiar with the plan, in what is expected to be the unveiling of a smaller iPad to venture into a market staked out well in advance by rivals Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc.

Speculation has swirled for months that Apple was planning a smaller, less expensive version of its popular iPad to take on cheaper competing devices, a move that analysts say may hurt its margins but prevent its arch-rivals from dominating an increasingly important computing segment.

The consumer device giant is gearing up to unveil a new product at a major Oct. 23 event, said the source who declined to be named, days before Microsoft Corp unveils Windows 8 and its new Surface tablet on Oct. 26. The source did not specify what the product would be.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

The device, which many expect will sport a screen between 7 and 8 inches (18-20 cm), is deemed by analysts to be the iPhone makers' attempt to finally get into the fast-growing market.

A smaller iPad will directly compete with e-commerce giant Amazon's Kindle Fire HD tablet and Google's Nexus 7, both of which have 7-inch screens and are priced at $199. The first Kindle Fire, launched last year, went on to grab about a fifth of the U.S. tablet market.

Apple shares were up 0.6 percent at $631.63 at midday.

The news of the event was earlier reported by tech blog AllThingsD.

 

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