Apple iPad Mini gets official alongside the 4th generation iPad

Apple has finally announced the oft-rumored iPad Mini. Surprisingly, though, the company also unveiled what it’s calling the 4th generation iPad – just seven months after the 3rd generation model was introduced.

The iPad Mini looks exactly like we thought it would, has the specs that have been widely leaked, and even costs as much as one rumor said it would. So no big surprises here.

The iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch touchscreen that comes with 1,024×768 resolution – the natural choice, which makes all the apps ever written for iPads work on the iPad Mini ‘like magic’. There’s a dual-core Apple A5 processor in the Mini, which is now quite old, superseded by three newer iterations as of today, yet it was most certainly chosen for allowing the iPad Mini to be reasonably cheap (at least compared to other Apple products).

A 5 MP iSight camera is on the back, a FaceTime HD camera is on the front, Apple’s new Lightning port is present, dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi too, as well as Bluetooth and LTE.

The iPad Mini is 7.2 mm thin, and it weighs just 0.68 lbs (309 grams). The battery will run for 10 hours, just like all the other iPads, and the iPad Mini will have its own Smart Cover.

The iPad Mini’s pricing starts at $329 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi-only version. Add $100 more for 32 GB, and then $100 more than that for 64 GB of capacity.

The Wi-Fi+cellular versions (with LTE) start at $459 with 16 GB, and go up in $100 increments too as the storage space doubles.

With this pricing, Apple isn’t going as low as many had hoped ($200-$250 was the rumored price point a few months back), but then again Apple doesn’t need to match offerings such as the Google Nexus 7 or Amazon Kindle Fire in price. Apple’s small iPad just needs to be cheaper than its bigger brother. And that it is. The rest will be done by Apple’s brand power. So do expect the iPad Mini to quickly become the No.2 tablet in the world by sales – or who knows, even No.1, since it’s more affordable.

The 4th generation iPad (which Apple thankfully isn’t calling just ‘the new iPad’ like its predecessor) comes with somewhat refreshed specs.

There’s a new A6X processor in there, which Apple claims offers twice the processing power as the A5X chip in the 3rd generation iPad – both in terms of CPU usage, as well as graphics.

The front-facing camera has seen an upgrade and is now a FaceTime HD unit, the new, small Lightning connector is in too, and Wi-Fi is now dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n for better performance. More carriers are supported for LTE, yet the battery life remains at 10 hours – like every other iPad.

And everything else about the new iPad is identical to the ‘old’ one – including the way it looks and the Retina Display, of course. The price too. The 4th generation iPad starts at $499 (16 GB Wi-Fi), and all its prices are identical to those of the 3rd generation tablet.

Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2 as well, for $399 just like before. So now Apple has a portfolio of three different tablets, in two sizes and two screen resolutions. That should make most people happy.

The Wi-Fi-only versions of the iPad Mini and the 4th generation iPad go on sale on November 2 in the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

The Wi-Fi+cellular versions of the two tablets will become available a couple of weeks after that, at first in the US on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon.

Pre-orders for all models of the iPad Mini and 4th generation iPad will start on October 26, so this Friday (which, coincidentally or not is the day when Microsoft will launch Windows 8).

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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