REFILE-UPDATE 1-Apple sets Oct 23 event, smaller iPad expected

Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:36am EDT

By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO Oct 16 (Reuters) - Apple Inc on Tuesday invited members of the media to an event next week where it is expected to challenge rivals Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc with a less expensive and smaller version of its popular iPad tablet.

The Oct. 23 event will be held at the California Theatre in San Jose, Apple said in an invitation did not reveal details of the event, but hinted at something small with the words: "We've got a little more to show you."

An Apple spokeswoman declined to give any further details.

Wall Street analysts have said for months that Apple is planning a smaller, less expensive version of its popular iPad to take on cheaper competing devices.

Apple launches are some of the hottest events on the tech calendar, scrutinized by fans, investors, the media and industry insiders alike.

Apple now has just one 9.7-inch iPad, though it does come with various storage options and starts at $499. The previous version, or iPad 2, is available now for $399.

The new smaller tablet is expected to feature a display that is between 7 inches and 8 inches. Wall Street analysts expect Apple will price the new tablet between $199 and $299.

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.

The California Theatre is not one of Apple's go-to venues for product launches but the company has used the location before, including in 2004 to unveil the Special Edition U2 iPod, along with a performance by the rock band U2.

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