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Apple addicts are in a frenzy of excitement over this week’s announcement of the iPad Mini. The latest version of the ever-popular iPad is a smaller, lower-cost version that will retail for as little as $329 – approximately 34 percent less than its larger counterpart – and will likely bring Apple closer to its ultimate corporate goal of delivering products that appeal to every type of consumer.
The iPad Mini will feature a 7.9-inch display and is expected to really shake up the tablet market.
"At $329 you should expect more people getting into the tablet market," Julien Blin, an analyst at Infonetics Research, told CNet.
An LTE version of the iPad Mini – which will run on Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T networks – will also be available. Apple initially said would be available “a few weeks” after the November 2nd launch of the Wi-Fi-only mode, but I’ve seen a number of reports and tweets today saying customers that have preordering the device with LTE are getting an anticipated November 23rd arrival date on standard shipping. The Apple Store is currently also reflecting that the white version of the Wi-Fi-only mini has already sold out.
If you’re very familiar with Apple, you may recall that the late Steve Jobs was opposed to creating a smaller tablet, a sentiment mirrored by current CEO Tim Cook earlier this week on a conference call with investors, during which he insisted, “We [Apple] would not make a 7-inch tablet. We don't think they're good products."
While Apple is staying true to its word of not going with the standard 7-inch tablet size, at 7.9 inches, the new version is still considerably smaller than the 9.7 predecessor. The slightly larger size (compared to other tablets) gives Apple the appealing benefit a 35 percent larger display, and more than 50 to 60 percent when considering the usable area, Apple executives say.
With this product, Apple is taking aim not only at the smaller tablet market (I’m sure the Amazon Kindle is quaking in its packaging) but also at products like the Microsoft Surface (which will be launched tonight), which Cook compared to a car that can float and fly, but probably couldn't do either task that well. I’m sure that comment took some of the steam out of Microsoft’s launch (womp womp).
While the iPad Mini is still priced higher than most of the 7-inch tablets, I’d definitely consider purchasing the LTE version, although I always prefer to wait until after the inevitable kinks are worked out.
Are you excited for the iPad Mini?