Now that the big event is just a few hours away, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has taken its store offline for the preparation of the ‘iPad mini’ event. This has become a standard practice for the Cupertino based company.

apple store down

At today’s event, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to announce its highly anticipated iPad “Mini”, which if the blogosphere is correct, will likely be a 7.85 inch tablet (vs. 9.7 inch for iPad) with 16GB of memory that will sell at prices starting at $299, and generate roughly $100 in gross profit per device, based on a similar bill of materials to other 7 inch tablets.

Analysts from Raymond James have built in an assumption of 5 million incremental iPads sold in the December quarter, due to the new form factor, an assumption that they baked into their model in June, following the firms consumer survey.

According to a report from Nomura equity research, Apple’s iPad ‘mini’ pricing will allow for a 28- 35% gross margin, in-line with our estimate for the current iPad. While the ‘mini’ may weigh on future ASPs, the risk of gross margin compression strikes us as low in the near term.

Besides iPad Mini, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to unveil other new products, like a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and a new Mac Mini. However there are several reports that Cupertino based company could also unveil an iPad 4.

The special event kicks off at 10 a.m. PT (1 pm EST), so let’s wait and watch – what Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has planned for the fanboys.