Apple gets official with iPad mini; upgrades iPad again

Apple gets official with iPad mini; upgrades iPad again

Summary: What might have been one of Apple's worst kept secrets is finally here.

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After months of speculation, Apple officially introduced the iPad mini during a media event in San Jose on Tuesday morning.

See also: CNET's Apple event live blog

But Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller started off with a surprise when he announced the fourth-generation iPad -- which was a bit of a shock considering the last one was only introduced earlier this year.

Here are some of the upgrades:

  • New LTE chipset that works on more networks worldwide
  • Front camera now supports FaceTime with 720p HD video capture
  • 2x faster Wi-Fi connectivity
  • New cables for SD and USB connectivity
  • 10 hours of battery life
  • Same configuration/pricing starting points (i.e. starts at 16GB Wi-Fi only for $499, etc.)
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But Schiller didn't disappoint anyone expecting a smaller tablet, quickly introducing the "thin as a pencil" iPad mini. Here's the rundown on the sized-down iOS tablet thus far:

  • 7.9-inch display
  • Dual-core A5 processor
  • 53 percent lighter than full-sized iPad at 0.68 lbs
  • 7.2mm thin and 0.68 pounds light
  • 23 percent thinner than 4th-gen iPad
  • Same resolution as 1st- and 2nd-gen iPads: 1,024 by 768 pixels
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi @ 5.2Ghz
  • FaceTime HD front camera
  • 5-megapixel iSight rear camera
  • Lightning connector
  • 10-hour battery life
  • New Smart Covers available for iPad mini
  • Comes in white and "slate black" -- no aluminum hinge; all one matte material
  • LTE options

Schiller took some time to describe how the iPad mini stacks up against the competition, calling out the direct competitors in the 7-inch tablet market.

Specifically remarking that the iPad mini has 35 percent more display real estate than Google's Nexus 7, Schiller continued that the 7.9-inch mini is 49 percent larger in portrait mode and 67 percent larger in landscape when it comes to browser use.

But in the end, the real competition in this segment of the tablet market is going to come down to pricing.

While the Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire have lowered the pricing bar below $300, the iPad Mini starts at $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version.

Apple is opening up pre-orders this Friday, and the Wi-Fi only editions will start shipping a week later on November 2 countries. The roll out for the 4G versions will follow at a later date.

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Images via CNET

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Topics: Apple, iOS, Mobile OS, Mobility, Tablets

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99 comments
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  • Yep... with a good aspect ratio screen too!

    Many predictions were for yet another dreadful 16:9 screen. Nope, not this puppy! Apple's delivering a smaller iPad which has the better, more pleasing screen dimensions than the small 7" competition does. Yet once again Apple shows why they're head and toes above the competition. Yet again, there's really no legitimate reason to purchase an Android... at any price point!

    (Truthfully speaking, I've begun to see el-cheapo Android tablets through various sources which are selling around $50 closeout price. So, point is, if you have $50 to spend, get an Android. If you are going to spend $200, you're better off spending more and get an Apple.)
    camcost
    • Cheapest

      Cheapest iPad mini starts at $329.00

      So you're going to need to come up with another $129.00
      dsf3g
      • So?

        If you can't afford an Apple product don't buy one. If Apples prices offend you don't buy one. If for some reason Apple offends you don't buy one. Still based on the legions of technology companies who have come and gone following the commodity pricing model one is hard pressed to find fault with Apples business model;)

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
        • My

          My, aren't we touchy.

          I was simply correcting a factual error in your post. The iPad mini is a $329.00 for the 16Gb model, and a lughable $429.00 for the 32Gb model. Pricing on the 32Gb model, especially, is an affront to human decency.
          dsf3g
        • Slavery Built

          WOW, $329 for something build by slave labor in China for a cost of less then $50! What a scam!!! REAL Americans would DEMAND these be built in the USA but yuppie Apple/Obama Worshipers are hypocrites.
          jimbritttn
          • Really? That's your comment?

            Many tech company's aside from Apple have their processing plants in China or other locations in Asia.

            And, I'm not American, but to look at Romney's business track records of out-sourcing to China, I'd be watching where you spread shit about the POTUS.
            Ceridwyn2
          • Actually, more outsourcing to China occurs as a result of Obama's

            economic policies, than via anything Romney has ever done.

            Raising taxes, automatically makes millions of companies consider sending their operations to offshore production.

            Creating regulations, which Obama has created about 10,000 of them, will also cause millions of companies to consider sending operations overseas.

            Raising taxes on the rich and middle class, will also make millions of people consider moving out of the country, and take their money with them, which means that, there will be fewer people in the investment class, which will mean fewer companies and millions less jobs.

            If you don't understand how economics works, don't even bother posting your clueless comments.

            And, in fact, Romney has created and saved many more jobs than Obama, and he hasn't even been president yet. Saving a company from going out of business (which is what Romney did at Bain Capital), prevented many companies from going out of business, thereby saving many thousands of jobs. Many of those companies then went on to become successful, which in turn, created thousands more jobs. Staples would not even exist now, if it hadn't been for Romney and Bain Capital. That's business experience that will far outshine anything that Obama has done or even attempted.

            That's why Romney is way ahead of Obama when it comes to how people feel about who would be better for the economy.
            adornoe
          • BS

            "...will also make millions of people consider moving out of the country, and take their money with them,.."

            Every election cycle we hear all these people (from both sides) say if X wins, I'm leaving the country, yet nobody ever does.

            Sorry, but it's pure BS. I mean, where are all these conservatives who are upset with Obama's policies going to go? Canada, with their national healthcare program? England, who participates in the precursor (EU) to Obama's new world order? Or are the Cayman Islands are about to get a population overload if Obama wins?
            TroyMcClure
          • Why are we injecting politics into this discussion

            @Ceridwyn2 - just from your picture I could tell you were a bleeding heart Liberal Obama weenie. Stay on topic and keep your biased political BS off this site.
            simul8guy
          • Not here to discuss political Bullcrap...

            but just commenting since someone else brought it up. And NOT American. I'm Canadian. And yes, I am more left-leaning political-wise. And not apologising for it, either.

            And seriously, mind your own business and stop taking personal shots on a tech blog. There is no need for it and I don't' put up with that shit.
            Ceridwyn2
          • a political debate

            Great - this should be interesting coming from a country whose main two parties have the logos of an elephant and a donkey - presumably signifying the weight and intelligence of the average American voter....
            The Central Scrutinizer
    • Not if...

      "If you are going to spend $200, you're better off spending more and get an Apple."

      Not if that $200.00 is all one has to spend. There's a huge difference between the $50 and the $329 price tags you're talking about. Not to mention the Kindle vs iPad Mini price difference.

      I have no doubt that Apple will sell a lot of iPad minis, but they could have sold more. I guess the profit margin on the mini will most likely justify their price point. At least I assume someone at Apple is smart enough to have figured that out.

      Personally, I see Apple's sales of iPad 4 or whatever you want to call it outselling the mini by quite a bit. Where the mini will cannibalize sales from is from the iPod Touch. They could have taken sales away from Android devices with a $249 to $299 price point, but I'm guessing that wasn't their intention.
      Badgered
    • 4:3 = black borders

      No thank you
      Emacho
      • Agreed

        Agreed, a 7" tablet makes much more sense in a 16:9 form factor.
        dsf3g
      • For some reason

        apple likes SD ratios for their multimedia toys. I'll never figure it out. First you guys say that 4:3 is the best and anything else is awkward. Then the iphone 5 comes out with a 16:9 ratio and now this is the perfect ratio. You guys also talk shit about all Android phones being made of plastic, yet the iphone 3G and 3GS were made of plastic. Gotta love the hippocrates and double standards...
        SteveWojo
        • I agree

          I can't stand ancient Greek physicians either.
          lizardspock23
      • I read more than I watch movies.

        4:3 is great for reading! Sure happy Apple went with that.
        Userama
    • Oh Lord

      Save us from this dribble
      impost
    • Nexus 7

      is way better for the price.. and what I dont get is when new iPad retina showed all the fanboys talked about the DPI... and now.. it doesnt matter... this Mini has lower DPI and now you are saying its better?
      pepe-el-Toro
      • Good catch

        It was strange to listen to Apple gushing over retina display being so wonderful, but then ignored all of that logic when the ipad-mini was being discussed.
        Emacho