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Apple iPad Mini

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 Apple iPad Mini Available now 
23th October 2012

It has been rumoured for a very long time, but Apple have now finally announced the Apple iPad Mini, a much more compact (and cheaper) alternative to Apple's traditional tablet line-up, and one that might spell serious trouble for Android tablet manufacturers.

At the basic end of the range, the iPad Mini costs just $329 for a 16GB WiFi-only version, compared to $499 for the equivalent full-sized model. At 308 grams, the iPad Mini is less than half the weight too.

The display is a 7.9" 768 x 1024 pixel panel, which is the same resolution as last year's iPad 2, although it isn't as high resolution as the third generation iPad.. but then it isn't really necessary in a display of this size. Inside is a dual-core A5 processor, probably similar in performance to the iPad 3. On the back is a 5 megapixel primary camera with a 1.3 megapixel one on the front for FaceTime calls.

The design of the iPad mini is a little more like the iPhone 5 than previous models of iPad, with similar black and white/silver colour schemes. At just 7.2mm thick it is also much slimmer than the competition, and a little lighter as well. One other iPhone 5 style feature is the Lightning connector, which can now be attached to an optional SD card reader.

 Apple iPad Mini Most customers will be able to choose between the cheaper WiFi-only version, or one of a pair of 4G LTE (and 3G) capable devices that add $130 to the cost, with the top-of-the line 64GB cellular version coming in at $659. LTE is turning out to be a bit of a mess with all sorts of frequency bands that manufacturers have to support, but we do know that Apple intend the iPad Mini to work with AT&T, Verizon and Spring in the US, and EE in the UK and a number of other carriers worldwide. If your carrier doesn't support LTE yet, then the iPad Mini also supports HSPA+ high-speed data too.

Should Android tablet makers be nervous? Perhaps. Even though the iPad Mini is significantly more expensive than the rival Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 devices, priced at $199 in the US, much of the sales success that Android have in this market segment is simply down to the fact that Apple haven't competed in the 7" tablet market before.

The WiFi version will launch in most major markets on 2nd November with pre-orders starting on 26th October. The cellular versions will follow a few weeks after that, presumably making it to retailers just before Christmas.

Overall Apple still dominate the tablet market and the iPad Mini, along with the newly announced fourth generation iPad, will make Apple very hard to beat.

Images courtesy of Apple, Inc.

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Apple iPad Mini at a glance

Available:

Q4 2012

Network:

Optional: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

UMTS 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100

LTE bands 4 & 17 or 1, 3, 5, 13 & 25

Data:

WiFi + (optional) GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA+ + LTE (4G)

Screen:

7.9" 764 x 1024 pixels

Camera:

5 megapixels (main)

1.2 megapixels (sub)

Size:

Medium tablet

200 x 135 x 7.2mm / 308 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

Optional SD reader

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

N/A

Java:

No

GPS:

Cellular version only

OS:

iOS 6

Battery life:

10 hours web surfing (WiFi)

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