Apple sets October 23 event, smaller iPad expected

SAN FRANCISCO Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:55am EDT

Customers try iPad tablets on display at a new Apple store during its official oppening in Strasbourg September 15, 2012. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Customers try iPad tablets on display at a new Apple store during its official oppening in Strasbourg September 15, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Vincent Kessler

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

The October 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.

(This story was fixed to correct typo in first paragraph, changing "table" to "tablet")

(Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and David Gregorio)

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