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Apple sends out invitations to expected launch of 'iPad mini'

NEW YORK--Apple Inc. has sent out invites for an event next Tuesday, where it's expected to announce the release of a smaller iPad.

The invite, sent to reporters Tuesday, doesn't hint at what will be revealed, beyond saying that “We've got a little more to show you.” The event will be held in San Jose, California.

Media and analysts have said for months that Apple has an “iPad mini” in the works. The tablet is thought to be about half the size of the regular iPad and to start at US$249 or US$299. The regular iPad starts at US$499 for the most recent models.

Apple founder Steve Jobs derided the idea of a smaller tablet two years ago, but Amazon.com Inc. has had some success with its Kindle Fire, which is about half the size of the iPad and starts at US$159. Analysts believe Apple wants to tackle that competition with its own similarly sized tablet.

Reports suggest that the smaller iPad would have a screen that's 7.8 inches (19.8 centimeters) on the diagonal, a bit more than the Kindle Fire or Google Inc.'s Nexus, with their 7-inch screens. The full-size iPad has a 9.7-inch (24.6-centimeter) screen, giving it about twice the display area as the 7-inch (17.7-centimeter) units.

Apple typically starts selling a new phone or iPad a week or two after announcing it. But it could treat the new iPad as a minor product update, in which case it could start selling it right after the announcement.

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In this March 7 file photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook announces a new iPad during an Apple announcement in San Francisco. Apple sent out invites Tuesday, Oct. 16 to reporters for an event next Tuesday, Oct. 23, where it's expected to announce the release of a smaller iPad.

(AP)

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