The iPad Mini, which approached near-mythological status in the weeks leading up to its debut, finally saw daylight Tuesday, when Apple revealed the smaller, more-affordable tablet to a crowd of Apple fanatics and tech critics in San Jose, Calif. For months, many speculated that Apple was working on a budget version of its market-leading iPad to stymie the market gains of competitors like Google (with the Nexus 7 tablet) and Amazon (with the Kindle Fire HD) in the 7-inch tablet realm. But a smaller iPad was hardly the only new product Apple had up its sleeve today. Here, everything you need to know from Tuesday's flurry of announcements:
How mini is this iPad Mini?
The new tablet has a 7.9-inch, non-Retina screen with a pixel resolution of 1024 x 769. (The full-sized iPad has a nearly 10-inch screen.) The iPad Mini is made out of anodized aluminum and glass and weighs just 0.75 pounds, or about the same as a pad of paper. It's just 7.2 millimeters thick — thinner than a pencil. The Mini runs a dual-core A5 processor, has a FaceTime HD camera, and gets 10 hours of battery life. Like all iPads, it comes in 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB models. Basically, says Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo, "this is a reduced iPad 2."
How much will it cost?
Pricing starts at $329 for the WiFi-only version with 16 GB of storage. The 32 GB is $429, and the 64 GB is $529. For take-anywhere LTE connectivity, tack on an extra $130. Although the competition prices their tablets around $200, this price tag actually follows Apple's "well-worn strategy of pricing its products at a premium to the competition," says Roger Cheng at CNET, "avoiding the low end of the market and maintaining its image as a product that people aspire to buy, as opposed to settle on."
When can I get one?
The iPad Mini goes on sale Nov. 2.
What else did Apple announce?
Among other things, the company revealed a 13-inch MacBook Pro equipped with Retina display. It's just 0.75 inches thick, or "a full one-fifth thinner" than the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro. Apple calls it the lightest MacBook Pro ever. Its screen boasts a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution. That's more than 4 million pixels total — almost double what an HDTV is capable of. Other key baseline specs: 2.5 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 8 GB memory, and 129 GB of flash storage. Pricing starts at $1,699, or $500 less than the previous mode. It's available starting today.
Apple's desktop line also got a refresh with a new Mac Mini. The company also introduced a radically redesigned iMac, triggering "oohs" from the audience. It's "insanely thin," says David Pierce at The Verge, with a teeny tiny 5-mm edge. Apple used a technique called "friction stir welding" to create the new computer, which has less reflection than older displays and enlists something called a "Fusion Drive" — basically, Apple's naming convention for a combination flash and hard drive. It comes in two sizes: 27 inches with a 2,560 x 1440 display, and 21.5 inches with a 1,920 x 1080 display. Pricing for a 21.5-inch iMac with a 2.7GHz i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive starts at $1,299.
That must be it, right?
Nope — there's more. The prodigious purveyor of tech products also released a new fourth-generation iPad that boasts a few spec bumps. It comes with an improved A6X processor, which Apple's Schiller describes as a "powerhouse" with double the performance of the A5X used in the previous iPad with Retina display. The new model starts at $499 — the same price as the last Retina-display iPad. Sprint will also offer the new fourth-generation model.