Sure looks that way based on the company’s press invitation to an October 23 meeting at San Jose’s California Theater. Per usual, Apple‘s keeping everything secret. But the note says that “We’ve got a little more to show you.” There’ve been countless reports that the company is preparing a version of the iPad that would be cheaper and smaller so it could compete more directly with products such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablets, and Google’s Nexus 7. The conventional wisdom is that an iPad Mini would have a screen that’s about 7 or 8 inches vs the iPad’s 9.7 inches, and sell for less than $300. The latest full-sized iPad goes for at least $499 while the iPad 2 sells for $399. Last month, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu said that in a visit to supply chain vendors in Asia “one of the key things” he heard was that “a smaller form factor iPad is in advanced stages where it is near ready for volume production.”

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