Apple to host October 23 event, iPad mini expected

Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:17pm EDT
 
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By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc will host an event on October 23 where it is expected to unveil a smaller iPad that will take on the less expensive devices offered by Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Wall Street analysts have predicted for months that Apple was planning a smaller, less costly version of its popular iPad to take on cheaper competing devices, a move that analysts say might hurt its margins, but prevent its rivals from dominating an increasingly important computing segment.

The source did not specify what the product would be and an Apple spokesman declined to comment, but tech blog AllThingsD reported earlier on Friday that Apple would launch the mini iPad at the event. The device is expected by many experts to have a screen between 7 and 8 inches.

A smaller iPad will directly compete with e-commerce company Amazon's Kindle Fire HD tablet and Google's Nexus 7. Both devices have 7-inch screens and sell for $199. The first Kindle Fire, launched last year, grabbed about a fifth of the U.S. tablet market.

The consumer device company is gearing up to unveil a new product at a major October 23 event, said the source, who declined to be named, only days before Microsoft Corp unveils Windows 8 and its new Surface tablet on October 26.

The Nexus 7, manufactured by Asustek Computer Inc, has also seen a successful start, with the tablet selling out soon after launch.

One Wall Street analyst said he had seen the smaller tablet, dubbed iPad mini by the media, while visiting component suppliers in Asia.

"We actually had the opportunity to play with a pilot iPad Mini used by one of the vendors," Topeka Capital analyst Brian White said. "This 7.85-inch iPad Mini fit our hands like a glove and we were easily able to tuck the device in our sport coat, offering consumers a more mobile iPad experience for certain use cases."   Continued...

 
A man looks at his iPad while sitting in a cafe in central Beijing June 6, 2012. REUTERS/David Gray