Apple announces 7.9-inch iPad mini, starting from $329

The mini is mighty

Apple announces 7.9-inch iPad mini, starting from $329

Apple unveiled the slim and light iPad mini as expected at a press event in San Jose, CA.

It introduced the new tablet by stating that the iPad mini was not simply a shrunk iPad, but a totally new design.

The iPad mini is 7.2mm thin, 23 per cent thinner than the latest fourth generation iPad, and weighs only 0.68 pounds - roughly the same as a standard pad of paper.

In a surprise move, Apple chose to give the iPad mini a 7.9" diagonal screen instead of the standard 7" screen that many were expecting.

The display's the thing

One of the main reasons Apple opted for the 7.9" screen was so the iPad mini could retain the 1024x768 resolution of the iPad 2. This means that any app or game playable on the iPad will run on the iPad mini without ugly compression or stretching.

Although the 0.9" difference of the iPad mini might seem like a marginal upgrade over a more traditional 7" display, this creates a screen with 29.6 square inches of space for apps to run as opposed to the 21.9 square inches found on a 7" screen.

Put another way, the iPad mini will feature 26 per cent more screen space over other 7" tablets (such as Nexus 7).

All of this translates to more room for gaming and web browsing, naturally.

With the tabbed browser window featured on Android tablets removed, iPad mini boasts 49 per cent bigger web page display in portrait mode and 67 per cent larger page displays in landscape orientation.

Behind the glass

The iPad mini is powered by the same dual-core A5 processor found in the iPad 2, but features a better HD FaceTime Camera (720p) and 5MP iSight Camera capable of shooting 1080p HD video similar to what Apple rolled out for the iPhone 5, new iPod Touch, and fourth generation iPad.

Similar to the Apple products rolled out since the iPhone 5, the iPad mini will also feature a smaller Lightning connector and improved wireless speed.

It's available in Apple's typically black or white colour schemes, although a new Smart Cover design provides red, pink, blue, green and shades of grey.

Price of innovation

All of these improvements come at a cost, however.

iPad mini's entry price point is $329 for a 16GB wifi only model. A 32GB wifi only is available for $429, while the 64GB wifi will set you back $529.

In comparison, the newest 7" Kindle Fire HD starts at $199.

In terms of the cellular or LTE versions, iPad mini starts at $459 for 16GB. A 32GB LTE version is available for $559, while the 64GB LTE iPad Mini will cost $659.

You can pre-order from Apple's online stores from 26 October, with wifi version shipped globally on 2 November and LTE versions two weeks later starting in the US.

Matthew Diener
Matthew Diener
Representing the former colonies, Matt keeps the Pocket Gamer news feed updated when sleepy Europeans are sleeping. As a frustrated journalist, diehard gamer and recovering MMO addict, this is pretty much his dream job.