Microsoft to launch an “iPad killer”

This we know. Microsoft has issued invitations to a top secret “event” at 3:30 p.m. PST in Los Angeles to announce a major new product.

The Bill Gates company isn’t talking, of course, but the invite cryptically says: “This will be a major announcement. You will not want to miss it.”

What is it? A new Xbox come early? A Microsoft branded TV?

Industry blog The Wrap is quoting sources as saying the announcement will be a Microsoft-made, Microsoft-branded tablet to go head to head with the iPad.

The sources indicate the new tablet will run a special version of Microsoft’s Windows software. The latest version of Windows, Windows 8, will launch later this year on PCs and tablets using ARM processors. The iPad runs on a custom ARM processor.

Windows 8 is scheduled to launch later this year on both traditional PCs, and portable low-power tablets featuring ARM processors. The version for low power tablets will be called Windows RT, which will not be sold at retail and only pre-installed on PCs and tablets that use those types of ARM processors.

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