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.

 

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

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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