Reports: Smaller iPad to be revealed Oct. 23

Apple Inc. is set to reveal a smaller,

cheaper version of the iPad at an event on Oct. 23, according to several

reports published

Friday.

The reports from Bloomberg News, Reuters and the AllThingsD blog are based on unnamed sources "familiar with the plans."

Apple Inc. hasn't said anything about a

smaller tablet, a concept company founder Steve Jobs derided two years

ago. But company-watchers

have assumed for months that an "iPad mini" will appear before the

holiday season.

The screen is reportedly about half the size

of the iPad's, which measures 9.7 inches diagonally. Analysts speculate

the starting

price of the device could be about $299.

With the device, Apple could close an

opening in the tablet market for rivals like Amazon.com Inc., whose

Kindle Fire is half

the size of the iPad and starts at $199. Google Inc. and Barnes

and Noble Inc. also sell tablets in the same size and price

range.

Apple's event would occur three days before

Microsoft Corp. releases Windows 8, the new version of its operating

system. Microsoft

will be releasing its "Surface" tablets with the software.

Apple's stock rose $1.61 on Friday to close at $629.71.