Apple unveiled a sweep of new products in a media event on Tuesday. One of the highlights of the show was the new iPad mini – about half the weight and two-thirds the size of the iPad, which customers can begin ordering this Friday. After weeks of speculation and hype, we wanted to see how this product falls into our expectation of what an Apple ‘tweener’ could be.
A competitor’s small tablet once deemed by Apple’s late founder, Steve Jobs, too big to compete with smartphones and too small to compete with the iPad, the ‘mini’ enters into a growing market currently dominated by Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Fitting in-between the iPod at $199 and another hot release from this morning, the fourth generation iPad at $499, the iPad mini starts at $329. With the competition priced much lower at around $200, rumors and speculation had been flying around for the past month that this tablet would be competitively priced from $250-$300. At this price-point though, the iPad mini still leaves much room for the Android tablets in this market.
“Apple had an opportunity to step on the throat of Amazon and Google, yet decided to rely on its brand and focus on (profit) margin,” said Bill Kreher, an analyst with brokerage Edward Jones.
While the smaller size, thinner shape, and lighter weight makes for a better mobile experience, this tablet comes at a premium many weren’t expecting.
Beyond the price tag, leaked images and inventory lists have painted a fairly accurate portrait of what this new device would be before it was even officially announced. From form factor, to colors, CPU, and dock connector, the vast majority of the rumors proved to be true after all.
Early reviews also find that it soars against the competition, not only in specs, but also in style. Designed from the ground up, instead of just shrinking an iPad 3, the ‘mini’ is a sleak 7.2mm thin and 302g (Wi-Fi version). The 5 mega-pixel iSight camera is similar to what we’ve seen on the iPad, but in a smaller body, taking photos and video will be much easier in one hand. 16GB to a whopping 64GB of storage, LTE options, and Apple’s new Lightning adaptor – which allows you to connect to VGA displays, projectors, digital displays, a USB camera and even SD cards – round out the advanced features not found on the mini’s rivals.
While the price may be hard to swallow, the iPad mini hosts an unbeatable combination of design, performance, and features. Available for pre-order starting this Friday, the ‘mini” will undoubtedly sell past expectations, especially with Christmas just around the corner.