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Apple releasing 7.9-inch iPad Mini, fourth-gen iPad

Apple releasing 7.9-inch iPad Mini, fourth-gen iPad
October 23, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Apple has debuted the 7.9-inch iPad Mini -- the first device in its phenomenally popular tablet line to feature a display smaller than 9.7 inches -- as well as a standard-sized fourth-generation iPad model.

It's the cheapest iPad yet with a starting price of $329 for a WiFi-only 16GB model. The WiFi-only models will begin shipping on November 2nd, while iPad Minis with cellular support will release a week later.

The WiFi-only 32GB and 64GB editions are priced at $429 and $599 respectively. The iPad Minis with built-in LTE wireless also come in 16GB ($459), 32GB ($559), and 64GB ($659) models.

Available in black and white, the iPad Mini features a 1024 x 768 resolution (non-Retina display), the same as the second-generation iPad -- Apple notes that this means all of the software developed for its existing iPads will be able to work on the smaller device unchanged.

Apple claimed the specs of the iPad Mini "are equal to or better" than the iPad 2, and said the smaller tablet contains a dual core A5 processor. It also has a 5MP iSight camera, and a battery life of around 10 hours.

The new fourth-generation iPad, announced just seven months after the release of the third-generation model, features a new A6X chip that promises double the performance for CPU tasks and graphics. It also comes in black and white, and offers pricing comparable to the last model (starting at $499 for a 16GB WiFi-only device).

iPad Mini trailer

Though Apple has been expected to release a smaller iPad for some time now, former CEO Steve Jobs famously criticized tablets with 7-inch displays just a couple of years ago, and claimed their size "isn't sufficient to create great tablet apps in our opinion."

Apple's absence in the mini tablet space has allowed rivals like Google (Nexus 7, $199 starting price) and Amazon to get a head-start in that market -- the latter in particular has found success with its line of Kindle Fire devices, which received several new models just a month ago with a starting price of $159.

The smaller tablets from Apple, however, will be able to take advantage of the strong offerings the iPad has built up since the line was introduced two and a half years ago -- the App Store currently offers more than 275,000 apps designed for the iPad, which dwarfs the selection available on competitors' devices.

Apple shared several other stats from the App Store at its press event today, including that iPhone and iPad owners have downloaded over 35 billion apps to date. And Apple has paid out more than $6.5 billion to game and app developers.

As for hardware, the company has sold 100 million iPads. To give you an idea of how many units its selling, Tim Cook noted, "We sold more iPads in [the last quarter] than any PC manufacturer sold in their entire PC lineup."

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