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Posters matching the event invite have started going up at San Jose’s California Theater as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) prepares for its big event Tuesday. While the company’s secrecy policy has meant that no one is absolutely certain of what the company has in store for unveiling, most bets are on first glimpse of the iPad Mini, perhaps alongside updated iMacs and a new MacBook.
While the iPad Mini is not expected to have a path-breaking or radical design, the device is certain to cause a flutter in the small tablet segment. With its predicted 7.85-inch display and a non-Retina screen resolution of 1024 x 768, the Mini will be able to aggressively take on cheaper devices from Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) that have threatened to challenge the iPad’s market domination.
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Most expect Apple to offer an 8 GB version as the entry-level Mini model, with the ability to choose between Wi-Fi, Cellular, and Wi-Fi + Cellular connectivity. The company is also sure to use the new Lightning 8-pin connector and a nano-SIM card, and give the device both front and rear cameras. Price predictions for the device are still uncertain and while Apple is highly likely to keep the tablet sub-$300, how much lower it can go to match its rivals will be one of the surprises of the event.
The announcement was rumored to have been delayed by manufacturing issues, but its ultimate timing is also being seen as a warning to rivals. On Thursday, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is scheduled to release Windows 8 as well as its first tablet, the Surface RT, to the world. If Steve Ballmer’s company had hoped this would be its big week, Apple has sent a clear message that it still considers tablets its territory.
Another product that has been much talked about over the last few days is the 13-inch version of the Macbook Pro with Retina display, with several analysts expecting Apple to announce the notebook on Tuesday with a price tage close to $2,000. There have also been some reports of a refreshed iMac with a new display and increased memory options.
The event will kick off at 1 p.m. ET.
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