Apple debuts iPad mini; Google and Amazon in race to the bottom

Apple debuts iPad mini; Google and Amazon in race to the bottom

Summary: Apple today announced the highly-anticipated iPad mini with everything you could want in a tablet in a more manageable form factor. And it's Google and Amazon's worst nightmare.

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TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, iPad
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Apple debuts iPad mini, Google and Amazon in race to the bottom - Jason O'Grady

 

Apple held a "little" media event today at the California theatre in San Jose that turned out to be anything but "little" -- at least as far as hardware is concerned. Apple announced five (count 'em!) new hardware devices, including:

In this post I want to discuss the new iPad mini (press release), which is hands-down (pun regretted) the most important product since the original iPad. During today's event Apple announced that it has sold more than 100 million full-size iPads and I'm convinced that it can sell even more 7.9-inch iPad minis. 

Because it ships with a 7.9-inch panel (29.6 square inches) the iPad mini has a 35% larger display than competing mini tablets from Google and Amazon. A typical 7-inch tablet display is 21.9 square inches. This means that the vaunted Nexus 7 from Google/ASUS is thicker and heavier than the iPad mini, and it has a smaller screen.

But, miniaturization (and polish) comes at a price and the iPad mini costs more than the competition. At $329 the 16GB iPad mini costs $80 more than the 16GB Nexus 7. Google and Amazon are rumored to be prepping price cuts to stave off the iPad mini threat and will fight each other in a race to the bottom while Apple will outsell both combined and continue to dominate the tablet space for the conceivable future. 

New features in the iPad Mini include:

  • 7.9-inch Multi-Touch display
  • 1024 x 768 pixels
  • 162 pixels per inch (PPI)
  • Dual-core Apple A5 chip
  • 7.2mm thick - 23 percent thinner than the iPad 3
  • 0.68 pounds - 53 percent lighter than the iPad 3
  • FaceTime HD front camera
  • 5MP iSight read camera (1080p)
  • 802.11n
  • 10 hours of battery life
  • Lightning connector
  • Optional LTE radio ($130 premium)
  • Colors: black & slate or white & silver

Wi-Fi models:

  • 16GB - $329
  • 32GB - $429
  • 64GB - $529

LTE models:

  • 16GB - $459
  • 32GB - $559
  • 64GB - $659

All iPad mini models will be available for pre-order Friday, October 26, the WiFi model will be shipping on November 2 and the LTE model will be shipping a week later on November 9.

While it doesn't have a Retina Display, I have a feeling that this is the iPad that everyone secretly wants. The 10-inch iPad is a great device as a computer replacement, but can feel unwieldy for casual usage. For me, the large iPad always feels just a tad too big for my taste. When I need a bigger screen, I prefer my MacBook Air. Being a writer I absolutely require a device with a keyboard 75 percent of the time, and that's my MacBook Air. 

When I'm strictly consuming content and reading for pleasure (no keyboard required) I'd much rather have a 7-inch device because it's smaller, lighter and generally easier to manage. I can definitely see "post PC" users, gamers and movie buffs preferring the larger iPad, but for an evening/weekend/holiday/reading-in-bed device, I favor the iPad mini's 7.9-inch form factor. 

The iPad mini will sell like gangbusters in the fourth quarter because everyone with a full-size iPad will want one, and most new iPad buyers will be drawn to its smaller footprint and lower price tag. Apple hit a grand slam home run with the iPad mini, no question about it. 

What's your tablet of choice?

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPad

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36 comments
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  • Today's announcement is great news for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Google!

    At $329 and up, I'm sure the other tablet makers are breathing a big sigh of relief today. Apple could have gone for the kill with a low price of say $249 but chose to continue to charge considerably more. There's plenty of room for everyone else who will have full size tablets at $299 and below as well as 7 inchers for even less.
    ckantack@...
    • ipad mini and rubberbanding are both bad news for Apple

      At 329 for an inferior device compared to the Nexus 7 or the Kindle Fire HD, the iPaD mini is a loose loose situation for Apple.

      Considering that Apple has lost it's the rubber banding patent, on October 15. coupled with many other silly patents that the patent office is now reviewing, will most likely affect Apples bottom line. The market is now showing this trend.

      This by no means will stop Ifans from purchasing such a foolish device.
      Uralbas
      • and ill be picking up a lot of Nexus tablets

        For presents this year.
        Uralbas
        • And you will get Uralbas...

          "I get a cheap iPad knockoff? Good thing I have the gift receipt so I can get what I WANTED! " :D HAHAHAHA!
          TimeForAChangeToBetter
    • Odd display...

      the display on the mini is so 2010.

      After lambasting the market and going on about how good retina displays are, they then produce this? Making the display larger than the rivals, but then a lower resolution and lower pixel density? Is Apple saying that Retina isn't the be-all-and-end-all that they said it was 6 months ago?
      wright_is
      • The iPad Mini is too big

        It's not a 7" tablet, and would all tech writers please stop referring to it as such. If anything it's an 8" tablet.
        laequis
  • No Doubt

    This will be a big seller. Higher prices or not. Apple certainly has a gold mine with their products these days. But having a 7" Kindle Fire, I find this size very limiting. Perhaps Apple will do it better than Amazon, but other than reading books and watching the occasional TV show on the Kindle, the 7" screen is just too small. I am waiting for the new, larger Kindle HD to ship.
    jpr75_z
  • Google and Amazon in race to the TOP!

    Please correct the article title. Amazon and Google are rather laughing right now. The iPad Mini cannot match the current models from Google and Amazon. The iPad Mini is actually a low end tablet, crazily enough, it's price make it appear like the opposite. Only the fools could fall for this kind of illusion. Save your money, Nexus 7, 32GB, $250 is the way to go.
    RelaxWalk
  • Even I wouldn't call it iPad Mini grand slam.

    Yep, it's going to sell well, and more importantly bring in a market segment that previously would have bought a Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire. But aside from the engineering required to fit what's essentially an iPad 2 in a smaller case, it's nowhere near as significant as the iPad with Retina. Getting the A6x into the iPad is the walk-off grand slam 3 runs down.

    The iPad with Retina is going to kill the high-end tablet market this holiday season. The iPad mini will appeal to highly mobile or very cost-conscious consumers. The iPad 2 will appeal to the "fat middle." End result, Apple is going to report HUGE numbers for Q1 FY'13 in late January.
    matthew_maurice
  • Race to the bottom? Please explain what you mean by that?

    Seriously, it's a bunch of useless words unless you can tell us what this "bottom" is.

    We could say "Apple joins the race to the bottom with the iPad Mini". and it has just as much meaning.
    William Farrel
    • It's just one more thing...

      William Farrell, it is just one more thing in the growing list of bad ideas since Jobs passed. Sorry but, pushing technology that is almost 2 years old for a premium doesn't go well with me.

      Also, no official youtube app is a real problem for me and this is a failure on many levels in my opinion.
      slickjim
      • Let's see what Apple says in late January 2013.

        I'm thinking Q1 FY '13 will be a record-shatter for Apple.
        matthew_maurice
        • Just like the analysts WAY overestimated iPhone 5 sales?

          Which resulted in Apple losing about 10% of stock value.
          laequis
      • Say it is not so Slickjim!

        No official YouTube app? You must put more faith into your deity Google! They provide an app for that...
        TimeForAChangeToBetter
  • Do size and price really matter?

    Going against the grain, I do not think that many (notice I said many) are that price sensitive and care more about IOS and style. In terms of size I don't see a a compelling need for a 7" IPad2 or an over sized IPod Touch.

    I think that the down side of no Retina display is over blown as well as the up side of how thin and light the mini is. If the intended use is to read, both the e-ink Nook and Kindle can be had for cheap and take up almost no space in your bag and easily slip in your pocket. If you want a on the go device to watch a video or surf the web and want to stay Apple the I-Pad is for you.

    It would not be the first time I was wrong but I don't see the I-Pad mini crush the competition and not something that I will buy.
    oldgeek143
  • What's your tablet of choice?

    A 9" tablet is useless, really.

    I've carried a LTE brand 7" phablet from Optus Australia around for several years now - but it's a little large. I also have a 10" iPad (the '3') and hate it's size. My next device will be the 5.5" Samsung Galaxy Note II phablet (the LTE is just not fast enough) but it's a little small.

    But the company who comes out with a 6" phablet with decent stereo microphones will be the winner.

    skris88
    Sydney, Australia
    skris88@...
    • For the market of 1-5 people.

      I find the 10" about right in the portability department and the "phaplets" a phase that most will grow out of within a year of so.
      Bruizer
    • I'm betting on phablet in the long run.

      At what point do you stop carrying around both ever smaller tablets and ever larger phones...
      paulhknight
      • Indeed

        I've been very happy with my Dell Streak 5" phablet for two years now, but do plan to move to the Galaxy Note II next month when my 2 year contract expires.

        One device to rule them all!
        laequis
    • Nice try

      Oh, and you have been carrying an LTE tablet for "several" years, in Australia? :)

      How many years was that? Since when there is LTE in Australia?
      danbi