Remember the rumors of the iPad Mini? 7.8-inch display, same screen resolution as the iPad 2, pricetag under $250? Well, some of the rumors are true. Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of WorldWide Marketing, announced the iPad Mini at today’s Apple Special Event. Much to our surprise the iPad Mini is actually called the “iPad Mini,” has a diagonal screen size of 7.9 inches, a 1024 by 768 resolution screen (same as the iPad 2) and starts at $329 for the WiFi version and $459 for the model with 4G wireless.
Strikingly, iPad Mini looks identical to the the mockups we’ve seen from China, which means that all the case manufacturers who bet on the leaked templates struck gold. As rumored, the iPad Mini features two colors: black and white; the black model will use the same colored anodized aluminum as the iPhone 5 (which means we should all be prepared for scratches and scuffs). This isn’t the rainbow of colors we were hoping for, but it’s a start.
The iPad Mini is 0.68 pounds light, about the same weight as a legal notepad, and is light enough to comfortably hold with one hand (though I will happily suffer with my iPad 3). Inside the iPad is a dual-core A5 processor, likely similar in performance to the iPad 2 or 5th gen iPod Touch, and supposedly matches the 10 hour battery life of the other iPads.
You might be wondering what Apple is thinking releasing the iPad Mini at a price almost $130 above Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. Well, Schiller actually took time to put the competing tablet side-by-side with the iPad Mini, comparing the Nexus 7’s wider bezel and plastic body to the iPad Mini’s design. Schiller argued that the iPad Mini’s screen shape would offer a better experience for surfing the web and making reservations than the Nexus 7, but considering the Nexus 7’s higher screen resolution (and likely beefier 1.3 GHz quad-core processor), we wouldn’t count out Google’s low price competitor.
New Smart Covers will also be released alongside the iPad Mini, with five colors, plus an additional model for Product RED. Preorders start on this Friday, October 26th, and the WiFi version is expected to ship some time on November 2nd.
What do you think of the iPad Mini? Will it compete favorably with its loss-leader Android competitors, such as the Nexus 7? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.