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
    +3

    Comment number 102.

    The BBC has also run articles on the Kindle Fire release, the Nexus 7 release, Samsung tablet and phone releases.

    To say that the BBC is sponsored by Apple is simply untrue.

    iPad mini is the big release today, and if you cover techy toys like this, then it's the big news of the day...

    .. just like the Kindle Fire release, recently.

    With people asking if the BBC was sponsored by Amazon.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 101.

    How short the memory! Would there be ANY tablets without Apple innovating with the Ipad? They defined the device, as they did the screen based smartphone, the apps 'ecosystem' and before, the Ipod and Itunes, -legal downloadable music. That doesn't guarantee more success especially as Kindle is sold at cost. If History repeats, we're in for a period of rubbish products-the 486 of the 21st Century!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 100.

    iPad mini looks very much like a Samsung Note with the thin side bevels, time for the 1bn revenge, go Samsung!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 99.

    I watched the launch and though it said much about Apple and current trends in technology that the launch of a new desktop iMac (that would once have been trumpeted from the rooftops) is now a supporting act to the launch of a small tablet. Perhaps you might like to pursue this as a story rather than the tedious "handbags at 20 paces" battle between Apple and Samsung fans.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 98.

    I find the 'Apple products just work' comment a bit one sided.

    I own an iPad, iPod classic and Apple TV, I'm no apple hater, but have you tried streaming itunes content from a NAS, or using an Apple TV on your network to stream video?? not to mention the new Maps app.

    I'm dissappointed with iPad mini, I agree with others that it's overpriced, I think it'll be a Nexus 7 or Kindle fire for me

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 97.

    89. Calum McKay
    Will the bbc run a blog for other manufacturers products?

    Probably not- most BBC journos are going to be iUsers, and likely not know / care about the other options in the market. You might get a short column but that's it. If you want to see more laughable iFawning, check out Auto Express mag- any car with a touchscreen has an 'ipad' interface, and the new maps app got 3/5!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 96.

    I am still not sure what the point of tablets are. At work we bought a bunch of them (managers wanted them) and guess what, no one uses them . I tried to watch a film on one before but its awkward, my iPhone did as good a job. The samller form factor does seem like a better idea but I still am not sure what real use it is!

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 95.

    I see the usual comments are appearing - "the only people who will buy one are Apple fanboys", "Apple are doomed" etc etc.

    Grow up.

    Apple have released a tablet that plays in the same market space as other 7" tablets. If you don't like it then don't buy one. It's as simple as that.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 94.

    I ditched Apple after my ipod touch so quickly became 'out of date' and unable to download the latest apps as i am one to keep my tech for as long as possible. I now have a Nexus 7 which despite a few minor build quality issues has been excellent for £199. Sure it has no rear facing camera and has clearly been made on a budget but assuming the ipad mini is well made-i can understand their pricing

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 93.

    My favourite quote on the 'iPad mini' is from a Telegraph article: “This isn't just a shrunken-down iPad,” added Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s British head of design. “It's an entirely new design.”
    This to me says it all about Apple and their hype. If you'll believe that, you'll believe anything.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 92.

    The tablet market has only recently started. Whereas PC's have been around for 35 years, the first iPad only arrived on April 3, 2010. That's only 2.5 years. So far, tablets have realized only a fraction of what they will be able to do. I believe the true power of the tablet will emerge when a complete Windows-based model arrives, with 256 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM, multi-Wi-Di & USB 3.0.

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 91.

    Perhaps the BBC ARE being sponsored by Apple, after all they haven't been sued over using the iPlayer name yet!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 90.

    @62 (Rachel) fear not, the Nexus 10 is rumoured to appear very soon.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 89.

    Why is bbc providing free advertising space for apple?

    This week impartiality of bbc and its news coverage has been called into question, this is another example.

    Will the bbc run a blog for other manufacturers products?

    C McK

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 88.

    I must confess, I find my iPad a very useful, reliable tool. At 73, my eyesight probably won't be good enough for the smaller screen. Also, it does appear to be rather expensive. I see the iPad as a useful complement to my iPhone and iMac. I am surprised at how easy it is to get a good typing speed directly on the screen. That said, Apple should not take it's customers or its rivals for granted.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 87.

    It is inferior in specification and price to the Google Nexus 7 but certain people will still buy it because it has the apple logo on it.

    A fool and their money are soon parted.

  • rate this
    +16

    Comment number 86.

    Is this news? Did the BBC provide the same coverage for all tablet launches? Apple is just one of the pack now.....

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 85.

    Doesn't it look very much like any other 7 inch tablet. I mean it is square, has buttons and a bezel. I think soon we have a new lawsuit on our hands.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 84.

    @69 Eh, how is he trolling? It's not like no one else is going to mention Microsoft. I know troll is misused a lot these days but that's just ridiculous.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 83.

    Is this Apple now following the market leaders (again?) starting to play catch-up they are too busy trying to sue others companies trying to block better gadgets that sell without Apple's binding constraints.

 

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