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Apple mini iPad: Price remains a big question

Even as Apple prepared to unveil what is expected to be a mini iPad, a big question mark remains on the gadget's price tag.

BT Online Bureau | October 23, 2012 | Updated 17:11 IST

The price tag remains a big question mark as Apple prepares to unveil what is expected to be a mini iPad. The technology giant hasn't said anything about the device, but the veil of secrecy that the company throws over unreleased products has been a see-through affair this year.

In the case of the "mini iPad" (the real name is not known) , tech bloggers and analysts expect a device with a screen measuring 7.85 inches on the diagonal, making it about half the size of the regular iPad.

It would be slightly larger than the 7-inch tablets it's presumably designed to compete with, including Inc's Kindle Fire and Google Inc's Nexus 7.

The Kindle Fire starts at $159, and the Nexus 7 at $199.

Apple sells the iPad 2 for $399 and the 4-inch iPod Touch for $199. Company watchers are pegging the price of the smaller iPad somewhere in between. Most of the guesses range from $249 to $299

Apple is holding Tuesday's presentation at a theater in California. The company typically starts selling a new phone or iPad a week or two after announcing it. But it could treat the new mini iPad as a minor product update, in which case it could start sales right after the announcement.

Apple has sold 84 million iPads since their debut in April 2010. One of the first competitors to appear was a Samsung tablet with a 7-inch screen.

Apple's late founder, Steve Jobs, made a rare appearance at an October 2010 conference call with analysts - his last - to deride the concept.

"The reason we wouldn't make a 7-inch tablet isn't because we don't want to hit a price point. It's because we don't think you can make a great tablet with a 7-inch screen," Jobs said. "The 7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad."

Jobs, who died in October last year, had strong opinions, but he also changed his mind frequently. The production of a smaller iPad would not be the first time that Apple has made a product that Jobs initially dismissed as ridiculous.

Apart from the smaller iPad, Apple is also expected to refresh some other products at the event. There's speculation that the MacBook will come in a version with a 13-inch, high-resolution "Retina" screen.

With inputs from Associated Press

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