After months (and months) of speculation, Apple has announced the iPad Mini, a smaller and cheaper version of its full-size tablet. It was the centre piece of a busy event yesterday that for the first time since 2010, was streamed live on the Internet for all to enjoy.
The big reveal came late in the show, following a selection of new Mac computers and a refreshed, fourth generation iPad. As expected, the iPad Mini lives up to its name, as it sports a 7.9-inch display instead of the 9.7-inch screen found on its big brother.
The iPad Mini has more in common with the iPad 2 than it does with the current generation new iPad, as it has the same 1024 x 768 pixel resolution – which provides a non-Retina 163ppi – and a dual-core A5 processor. This all makes the iPad Mini suitable to run full-scale iPad apps, of which there are now 275,000 available in the App Store.
The little tablet is very thin and light, measuring just 7.2mm thick and weighing 306 grams. That’s half the weight of the Retina iPad and lighter even than a Google Nexus 7. The iPad Mini takes on a similar design to the iPhone 5, with dual speaker grilles flanking a Lightning connector on the bottom of the tablet, and the black model having a complimentary dark rear panel too. The white model has a brushed metal finish on the rear and a white bezel. Talking of the bezel, this has been shrunk at either side of the screen, to make one-handed operation simpler.
Other features include an upgraded FaceTime video call lens that now shoots in 720p, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, more 4G LTE bands for the radio and a battery that Apple claims is good for 10-hours.
So, on to the price. Many hoped for a sub-$300 price tag in the US, which it didn’t quite make, as it begins at $329. In the UK, the 16GB Wi-Fi model costs £269. Apple will also sell 32GB and 64GB models with either Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi with a cellular connection. Pre-orders start on 26 October and the iPad Mini will go on sale on 2 November.