iPad Mini unveiled by Apple as it enters small tablet market

Apple iPad Mini The iPad Mini is a sign Apple is following the competition, one analyst said

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Apple has unveiled its widely-anticipated 7.9in (20.1cm) tablet, the iPad Mini.

The device, which is 7.2mm (0.3in) thick and weighs 0.68lbs (0.3kg), was announced at an event in California.

The entry wi-fi-only model, with 16GB storage, will cost £269 in the UK and be available on 2 November.

The iPad Mini will compete directly with cheaper similar-sized tablets recently launched by Google, Amazon, Samsung and others.

Apple's vice-president of marketing Phil Schiller told attendees that the device was 23% thinner and 53% lighter than the third-generation iPad, which was released in March this year.

Change of heart

The iPad Mini launch ends years of speculation that Apple was considering launching a new, smaller version of its bestselling iPad range.

In 2010, late founder Steve Jobs described 7in tablets as being "too small".

However, the company's apparent change of heart comes in the face of mounting pressure from its closest competitors, who already offer smaller - and crucially, cheaper - products.

In the UK, both Amazon's new 7in Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7 cost £159.

During the presentation, Mr Schiller stressed the importance of being able to hold the device in one hand - a nod to the more travel-friendly appeal of the smaller devices.

However, Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, said he had expected the iPad Mini to be more competitively priced.

"We got a mix of a bit of new Apple and bit of old Apple in the same announcement," he told the BBC.

Tablets, big and small, are crowding out the PC, with sales of personal computers down 8% on a year ago.

In 2010 when the iPad was launched many mocked it as a plaything - but Apple, Google and even Microsoft believe the future of their industry is tablet-shaped.

"This is new for Apple to be responding to competitors instead of pioneering their own way.

"It's old Apple as they've gone into this market with a premium pricing strategy.

"At the moment this doesn't place a lot of pressure on the Kindle Fire or the Nexus 7."

He added that the iPad Mini was an indicator that Apple might be nervous about losing its control over a market which it has dominated in recent years.

During the nineties, Apple found itself outpaced in the home computer market by Microsoft and Windows-powered computers - a period of the company's history it will be conscious to avoid repeating.

"The popularity of the Kindle e-reader and the Android smartphones made consumers aware of Amazon content and Google services," said Francisco Jeronimo, research manager at consultants IDC.

"The low price points of the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire have been attracting consumers looking for more affordable devices that also come with the content and services they already use or want."

But he added: "This new product from Apple will disrupt the market again. The iPad Mini is now the new category killer."

The other iPad Mini wi-fi-only models will have a recommended retail price of £349 for 32GB and £429 for 64GB.

Apple's Phil Schiller with new iPad Mini The iPad Mini is expected to boost Apple's dominance of the tablet market

The devices supporting 3G and 4G data connections would be released "a couple of weeks" later, the company said. They will be priced at £369 for 16GB, £449 for 32GB and £529 for 64GB.

'Kick in the face'

Apple also announced a lower-key upgrade for the full-sized iPad. Calling it the "fourth generation" iPad, Mr Schiller said its new A6X chip meant it had twice the CPU (central processing unit) power of the third-generation model.

Paddy Smith, online editor for Stuff.tv, said some Apple users might see the iPad upgrade as a "kick in the face" as the previous model was just seven months old.

"I think a lot of people will be upset to see a new full size iPad so soon," he told the BBC.

"For many people that represents a pretty major purchase, something you wouldn't want to do more than once a year."

Stuff.tv's Mr Smith agreed that Christmas shoppers could be hesitant.

"I think if they look at the competition and they see that the Google Nexus 7 is £100 cheaper it's going to be hard to ignore that - unless you're buying for a hardcore Apple fan."

However, IDC predicted that the new device would boost Apple's already dominant position in the tablet market.

It forecast that Apple would hold a 68% share of the market in 2012, compared to 29% for Android tablets.

Both would fall off slightly next year with the launch of Windows 8 tablets, IDC said.

The firm also announced upgrades to its Macbook Pro, iMac and Mac Mini ranges of computers.

Its new iMac machines have been made 80% thinner at the edges than previous models, Mr Schiller said.

7-inch tablets compared

Device Vital information What the experts say

Apple iPad Mini

Apple iPad Mini

• UK Release: 2 November

• Operating system: iOS6

• Camera: Front, 1.2MP; back, 5MP

• Cost: £269 • Full specification

"We'd go as far as saying it's our favourite iPad yet. The smaller size, thinner shape and lighter weight makes for a much better mobile experience. The main sticking point, however, is price."

- T3

Acer Iconia Tab A110

Acer Iconia Tab A110

• UK Release: 30 October

• Operating system: Android Jelly Bean

• Camera: 2MP

• Cost: £179 • Full specification

"There are several areas where the A110 loses out to its cheaper rivals. The most obvious of its weaknesses is the screen, which is poor by any standards." -PC Pro

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

Amazon Kindle Fire HD

• UK Release: 25 October

• Operating system: Android Ice Cream Sandwich

• Camera: 1.3MP

• Cost: £159 • Full specification

"It offers a simple and uncomplicated experience through and through, and is built to support the digital media it aims to sell you, with an excellent screen." -TechRadar

Google Asus Nexus 7

Google Nexus 7

• UK Release: Out now

• Operating system: Android Jelly Bean

• Camera: 1.3MP

• Cost: £159 • Full specification

"It's a well-designed, powerful, and useful product, with lots of bells and whistles that makes it feel like a device that should be more expensive than it is." -The Verge

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

• UK Release: Out now

• Operating system: Android Ice Cream Sandwich

• Camera: Back, 3MP; front, VGA

• Cost: £199 • Full specification

"For £200 the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 is a decent tablet. It boasts a sturdy, visually pleasing design and decent battery life. The big problem, however, is that the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 isn't as good as Google's Nexus." -The Inquirer


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  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    I'm a disappointed apple fan, now I'd rather buy Kindle etc than iPad Mini. Or save for new iPad, because the price is just bit too higher than its competitors with only addition of a 5MP camera, well I go a 16 MP Cannon so that point is not sold on me either.

    Too bad Steve died, I guess this is the beginning of the end for Apple, last time he saved them, now there's none I believe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Given the newest iPod Touch models start at £249, I think people were deluding themselves in thinking the iPad Mini would come in below that.

    And to those complaining that their 6-month old iPad is now obsolete - it's not. It's just a bit slower than the new one.You can still use it exactly the same as you could yesterday! I still happily use my first generation iPad on iOS 5. It's not obsolete.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Wideboy. What content can't you see on your iPad. I use YouTube every night if the week. I also watch catch up tv and even live tv in both my iPad 2 and my iPhone 3GS. Both work perfectly. If you don't like Apple stop reading news reports about them. Remember don't be evil.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    More overpriced junk for Apple Addicts who can't see passed the hype. If anyone buys this rubbish should be taken out and given a good slap round the head.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Why the hell does this warrant front page placement?

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    What is it teach news team in the bbc do you all love Apple so much that you let them have free advertisements, i do not see how this is news

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    So they've released a 7" tablet, like the Galaxy Tab....? Sue the trousers off them Samsung.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    2 iPhones and a Macbook Pro, all dead within a year despite excellent care. Apple is fast changing from what it was under Steve Jobs and with the quality of the products evidently flawed they are no longer worth the premium price. The iPad Mini is far too expensive for what it is and is just more proof that Apple are nervous! I for one am going back to Windows, my Windows devices lasted years!

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    @Beresford #72. Obviously you don't use your Macs to organise your older digital music collection, or to view your digital photos from other devices. You can buy my MacBook Pro if you like.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    72 Beresford
    I bet that's because you most likley upgraded from a 1 GHz xp based machine, 10 years out of date. Then you wonder why a new intel i7 works better and faster.

    Ive never had Windows 7 crash

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    I changed to Apple from Windows about 3 years ago. it was the best move I ever made. Our laptops never crash like Windows always did almost every day and they work seamlessly with the various extra components. Yes they are more expensive but they do the job. If you want a new iPad mini buy one. If you don't, then don't. Bitching about it is a waste of time - get a life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    I have a iPad 2 and it is very frustrating that I seem to get " this content is not available on you're device "

    Apple fans like to say how this doesn't matter flash is out of date etc, I'm sorry it does they said that two years ago and I still can't vIew weppages properly.

    Never again

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    I think this and the new iPhone just shows how important Jobs was to the company. Without him at the helm Apple appear to have lost their way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    @ 63.
    "As a divorced father of two,,,,,,,,,,,"
    Are you saying they specifically make stuff for "divorced fathers"????
    I agree they make nice products, but I don' t know if you've ever noticed, microsoft don't make PCs.
    My PCs have always worked. And thats down to one major factor.
    I know how to use them.
    I'm writing this on an ipad by the way, so unlike you, I'm not just trolling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    On the BBC front page the iPad release is currently opposite an article on how difficult it is to dispose of old pianos. You know, those media devices that every home had to have. At least with them you didn't have to pay the manufacturer to play your own music.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    I’m waiting for Apple to patent the concept of producing a smaller version of an existing product. Then they’ll be able to sue for billions when someone dares to come up with a mini-version of something.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    I would love to be able to get one, I agree with the comments on how good Apple is.
    Unfortunately though due to the financial cost I have had to stop buying Apple products. Are they the best....Yes are they the best value for money......NO

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Well, at £269, that means it's £70 too expensive compared to the 16Gb Nexus 7

    I'd much rather have an Open Source OS, too, so a Nexus 7 with Android (and with Ubuntu too, after I've had tinker with it) is the only real option

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    The amount of free advertising the BBC has given Apple over just these last 4 years has been ASTOUNDING. No wonder they are the biggest company in the world !

    I hear H&M have some new clothing designs out for this season - why are they not featured on the BBC site for us to comment on ? Why is Apple given preferential treatment ? Are they paying the BBC ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    As a divorced father of two Apple's innovation is truly astounding. Their products are first class, engineered to the highest of standards and more importantly they WORK!!!!
    I for one will be purchasing 2 and one will go to my son. My iPad mini will sit alongside my Macbook, iPhone 4S and Time Capsule.
    I left windows years ago and will never return!
    Well done Apple.


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