Apple announced a new tablet named the iPad mini at a press event Tuesday in San Jose, CA. The tablet’s screen measures 7.85 inches diagonally, giving it a bit more real estate than its 7-inch competitors.
The iPad mini is 7.2 millimeters thick and weighs 0.68 pounds, 53 percent lighter than the iPad. The mini has a 7.9-inch 1024×768 display, making it 35 percent larger than 7-inch Android tablets like the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire HD but with a lower resolution. Apple CEO Tim Cook made a point of the physical size of the display, noting that the iPad mini has 29.6 square inches of screen to a 7-inch Android tablet’s 21.9 inches.
Inside, the tablet has an A5 processor, the same system-on-a-chip used in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, and an 802.11ab/g/n Wi-Fi radio. An HD camera is embedded in the bezel on the front, and a 5-megapixel camera is on the back.
The model is designed with an aluminum back, similar to the larger iPad. Like its bigger brother, the mini will get 10 hours of battery life and come in black and white.
In addition to the iPad mini, Apple announced a fourth-gen iPad tablet with a new A6X processor that has double the graphics and CPU performance, according to Cook.
The iPad mini starts at $329 for a 16GB configuration, significantly more than the $199 Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD, and tops out at $659 for a 64GB version with data access. The Wi-Fi versions are set to ship November 2, while those with cellular access will go out two weeks later on November 16.
Apple also announced a new version of iBooks Author, the tool that lets users create textbooks, which allows publishers to use their own fonts and include “multitouch widgets” in the books. Apple noted that because of the iPad, iBooks have become fairly successful in the education sector. Cook noted that 80 percent of the US high school curriculum is now available in the iBookstore. With the new iPad mini, Apple may be aiming for another push into the education sector.