Apple is kicking off what is going to be a very busy week in consumer technology today with an event at the California Theatre in San Jose.
The company sent out invitations to the media event last week teasing that it had "a little more to show" and is expected to announce a smaller version of its iPad at the event.
Rumors of an iPad Mini have circulated for months now. According to the Wall Street Journal, the smaller iPad went into mass production last month. It has been reported that the tablet will have a 7.85-inch screen, 3G and 4G connectivity, run iOS 6, and have the new Lightning dock connector.
Last month Amazon released its new Kindle Fire HD, which starts at $199. Similarly, Google and Asus launched the Nexus 7 in June for $199. Barnes & Noble released the Nook HD three weeks ago, which — you guessed it — starts at $199. According to 9to5Mac, a popular Apple news website, the smaller iPad will start at $329.
The move to launch a smaller iPad is now expected, but it hasn't always been. Steve Jobs once said that the 7-inch tablet market was "dead on arrival." However, an internal Apple email revealed in the Apple v. Samsung trial revealed that Jobs had warmed up to the idea before his death.
As others have seen the 7-inch tablet size be extremely successful, analysts are not surprised by Apple's move. "When it comes to tablets one size does not fit all. It would not surprise me of Apple, having defined the tablet market decided there was room in the line for something between an iPod touch and iPad," Michael Gartenberg, Gartner Research Director, told ABC News. "Of course, with Apple it's all about the details of the experience so we'll just have to see what it is they announce."
What they will announce is still a mystery as with any Apple event. However, there are additional reports that the smaller iPad will be joined by new Mac computers. Again according to 9to5Mac and AllThingsD, Apple will release a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, which would join the 15-inch version on the market right now. The same site claims Apple will also release a new Mac Mini desktop.
Of course, Apple isn't the only company planning to release a number of computers this week. Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system for laptops, tablets, and desktops launches this coming Friday, Oct. 26. Along with Microsoft's own Surface tablet, hundreds of computers from Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer, and others are expected to launch with the new touch-friendly software.
ABC News will be covering all this week's tech highlights, starting with the Apple event later today. We will be live at the event at 1:00 p.m. EST / 10:00 a.m. PST. You can follow our live blog here. Stay tuned for our continuous coverage throughout the day.