Apple about to unveil a 'mini iPad'?
Just weeks after launching the iPhone 5, Apple is back with what is expected to be another hot device, a "mini" version of its market-leading iPad tablet.
Apple sent out invitations for an event today in San Jose, California, saying only: "We've got a little more to show you."
Reports have been swirling for months about the "iPad Mini", Apple has made no comment
But blogs which closely monitor Apple say the new tablet could be priced in the United States from US$249 to US$399, which could put pressure on rivals such as the Amazon Kindle Fire.
The event comes a little over a month after the iPhone 5, the latest its smartphones, which was greeted with record sales.
The gathering is three days ahead of the release of Microsoft's new Surface tablet and two days before Apple reports quarterly earnings.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple was producing 10 million of the new iPads, and reports say it may be available on November 2.
Analysts say Apple is virtually guaranteed a hit, but that the long-term outlook is less clear.
"For Apple, given its well-oiled product marketing machine, 10 million is not a surprise," said Roger Kay, a consultant with Endpoint Technologies.
"They are also likely to take some of the wind out of the sails of the others, like Amazon."
But Kay said that although Apple essentially created the tablet market with the 10-inch iPad, it was making a "defensive" move with the new device, expected to have a screen of 7.85 inches.
He said it was not clear if Apple would dominate that segment of the market, which has established products from Amazon, Samsung and others.
"Apple wouldn't have gone into this if others hadn't," he said. "The bar has been set by Amazon. Even though the Kindle is not the same kind of device, it does what it does very well."
The Kindle Fire proved popular last year, and a new version was launched last month. Meanwhile the small-format Google Nexus 7 joined the Samsung Galaxy in the seven-inch tablet market.