Apple's iPad mini will go on sale next Friday (2 November) priced £269 for the entry-level version.
The widely expected competitor to Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire was revealed in San Francisco last night, along with an updated iPad. The smaller tablet has a 7.9-inch display and is 23% thinner and 53% lighter than the third generation new iPad. It runs the same dual-core A5 processor as the iPad 2. Both the iPad Mini and fourth generation iPad will be able to run on EE's 4G network, which launches next week.
While former Apple CEO Steve Jobs dismissed a smaller tablet as not being large enough to run software effectively, analysts saw this move as a new category killer for the smaller tablet range. During the presentation, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed it has sold 100 million iPads in less than three years and said 200 million devices have already upgraded to iOS 6.
Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said: 'iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad. iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper, yet packs a fast A5 chip, FaceTime HD and 5-megapixel iSight cameras and ultrafast wireless – all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.'
The 16GB Wi-Fi model will go on sale for £269, 32GB for £349 and 64Gb for £429 in 34 countries on 2 November. The cellular versions will ship a few weeks afterwards and cost £100 more expensive than their Wi-Fi counterparts.
Confirming it would stock the device, Graham Stapleton, chief commercial officer of Carphone Warehouse, said: 'The hotly anticipated release of the iPad mini suggests that there has been a shift in consumer demand towards smaller, more portable tablets. We know that there is an appetite amongst our customers for 7-inch tablets proved by the recent success we’ve had with other smaller tablets.'
Distributor 20:20 Mobile has launched a series of accessories for the iPad mini from the likes of Aegis, Proporta, Belkin, Cygnett, Kensington, and Tech21. Marketing and purchasing director Andrew Peat said Apple accessories account for more than half of accessory sales.
The fourth generation iPad marks the quickest product refresh Apple has ever had, coming to market only eight months after the new iPad. Apple said its A6X chip will deliver up to twice the CPU and graphics performance of the A5X that featured in the new iPad. The device is priced the same as the new iPad – £399 for the 16GB model, £479 for the 32GB model and £559 for the 64GB device. The cellular version is £100 more expensive. Pre-orders for both devices will begin on 26 October.
Francisco Jeronimo, analyst at IDC, said: 'This new product from Apple will disrupt the market again. The iPad mini is now the new category killer. Competitors will need to return to their R&D centres and find ways to develop even cheaper versions of their products and figure out how to profit from the content, while Apple will continue to make a profit from the hardware and the content!'
Editor: Graeme Neill