Apple Unveils Pencil-Thin iPad Mini, Priced Too High?

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As expected Apple has unveiled its much-awaited iPad Mini, with the same specifications which were already revealed by various technology blogs and trade analysts, who closely follow all developments at tech giant Apple.

“This is iPad mini,” Apple’s senior vice president for marketing Phil Schiller said as he displayed the new iPad at an Apple event in San Jose. “This isn’t just a shrunken down iPad,” Schiller said. “It is an entirely new design.”

The iPad Mini is equipped with a screen measuring 7.9 inches on the diagonal, the iPad Mini is about half the size of the regular iPad.  It’s slightly larger than the 7-inch tablets from Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus. The regular iPad’s screen size is 9.7 inches. The iPad mini weighs 0.68 pounds, half as much as the full-size iPad, and is as thin as a pencil, Schiller said.

The screen resolution is 1024 by 768 pixels, the same as the iPad 2 and a quarter of the resolution of the third-generation iPad. The dual-core A5 chip is said to deliver responsive graphics and a fast, fluid Multi-Touch experience. The iPad mini features a front-facing FaceTime HD camera and a 5 megapixel iSight camera on the back with advanced optics for taking still pictures and recording full 1080p HD video.

The new iPad mini with Wi-Fi models will be available in black and slate or white and silver on Friday, November 2, for $329 for the 16GB model, $429 for the 32GB model and $529 for the 64GB model.  iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular will be available for $459 for the 16GB model, $559 for the 32GB model and $659 for the 64GB model. The Apple iPad Mini will be initially released in 34 countries globally.

Company watchers have for a year been expecting the company to release a smaller iPad to counter cheaper tablets like Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7. However, most were expecting it to cost between $250 and $300. At $329, it’s twice the price of the basic Kindle Fire. Probably, Apple does not enter into price war with Amazon and Google in this 7 inch segment and expecting to capitalise on its brand equity.

“In our view, the iPad mini stands to target price-sensitive users and the e-reader crowd,” JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz wrote in a note to investors ahead of the media event. “Given the global economic uncertainty, we think price-sensitive users could gravitate toward an iPad mini instead of making a PC purchase.”

The timing of the launch, just ahead of the all-important holiday season, is a smart move, analysts said. Many have already predicted strong demand from consumers for the smaller iPad.

While speaking on the occasion,Tim Cook,CEO of Apple Inc., informed the audience that Apple has sold over 100 million iPads in two and a half years. He also said more than 275,000 applications were now available for the iPad in Apple’s App Store and that customers have downloaded a total of more than 35 billion apps.

Apple also unveiled a fourth generation of the original iPad on Tuesday for the same starting price of $499 for a 16GB model with Wi-Fi connectivity. The fourth-generation iPad will have double the speed of the processor, a better camera and work on more “LTE” wireless data networks around the world. Apple is also replacing the 30-pin dock connector with the new, smaller “Lightning” connector introduced with the iPhone 5 a month ago.

Besides, the company launched new Mac computers, including a 13-inch version of a MacBook Pro with sharper, Retina display and new iMacs.

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