Last night, at a packed and surprisingly speedy event in San Jose, California, Apple announced the iPad Mini and a refreshed version of its big brother, the full-size iPad.
The iPad Mini has been rumoured for some time, and has gained a considerable amount of attention for being the type of tablet Steve Jobs had been vocal about disliking. Would he have approved of the new iPad Mini? Let’s see what it’s all about.
As you’ve probably guessed, it’s smaller than the existing 9.7-inch iPad, as Apple has swapped the numbers around to give us a tablet with a 7.9-inch display. The resolution isn’t up to Retina standards though, as it’s the same 1024 x 768 pixel screen found on the original iPad and the iPad 2. The smaller screen size does give the pixel density a boost though, as it returns 163 pixels per inch.
The device itself has the look of the iPhone 5, with less tapered edges and the same speaker covers on the base of the chassis, which flank the new Lightning connector port. It’ll come in black or white, but the black model is black all over, instead of retaining the brushed metal rear cover like the full-size model.
At 7.2mm thick and weighing 308 grams, it’s a couple of millimeters slimmer than the 9.4mm thick iPad, and less than half the weight. This is important, as the full-size iPad is a heavy beast, and Apple is pitching the iPad Mini towards the market interested in the Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle. Here, it beats them both — by almost 90 grams in the Kindle Fire HD’s case.
iPad Mini features
On the rear of the iPad Mini is a 5 megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, plus there is a 1.2 megapixel FaceTime camera lens above the screen, which now shoots at 720p. Otherwise, it’s business as usual on the outside, with a 3.5mm headphone port, a volume rocker, the sleep/wake key and the Home button.
Inside the iPad Mini is a dual-core A5 processor, as seen in the iPad 2, plus Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, a battery that has enough juice to keep the tablet up and running for 10 hours, and a 4G LTE radio. Like the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini is compatible with a dizzying array of international 4G networks.
Set to be released on November 2, you’ll be able to order the iPad Mini on October 26, when the 16GB Wi-Fi model will cost £269. This is significantly more than Google’s £159 8GB Nexus 7 and the £199 16GB version, but the iPad Mini has the distinct advantage of providing owners with access to the packed iTunes App Store, where there are 275,000 iPad-specific apps, and 700,000 in total.
The iPad Mini was joined by an updated version of the full-size iPad. The design and the Retina display remain unchanged, but the 30-pin connector has been swapped out in favour of the new Lightning connector, and the A5X processor has been replaced by the A6X. Apple promises it’s twice as fast in key areas over its predecessor, and will make the already speedy tablet even faster.
Like the iPad Mini, the fourth generation iPad’s 4G radio has been given a few more bands to play with too. Prices stay the same, and the tablet should be up for pre-order on October 26.