New mini-iPad costs more than expected

2012-10-23 22:45

San Jose - Apple is refusing to compete on price with its rivals in the tablet market - it's pricing its new, smaller iPad well above the competition.

On Tuesday, the company revealed the iPad Mini, with a screen that's about two-thirds the size of the full-size model, and said it will cost $329 and up.

Apple starts taking orders for the new model on Friday 26 October, said marketing chief Phil Schiller at an event in San Jose, California. Wi-Fi-only models on 2 November. Later, the company will add models capable of accessing "LTE" wireless data networks.

The price fits into the Apple product line-up between the iPad 2 at $399 and the latest version of the iPod touch at $299. But company watchers had been expecting Apple to price the iPad Mini at $250 to $300 to counter the threat of less expensive tablets like's Kindle Fire, which starts at $159. Barnes & Noble's Nook HD and Google's Nexus 7 both start at $199.

Apple shares fell $14.83, or 2.3%, to $619.20 when the price was announced. Shares of Barnes & Noble  jumped 91 cents, or 6.3%, to $15.35.

Shares of were down 12 cents, or less than 0.1%, at $233.66 while the rest of the stock market was in retreat.

When pre-orders start on 26 October, the iPad Mini will be competing for the attention of gadget shoppers with the release of Windows 8, Microsoft's new operating system.

The screen of the iPad Mini is 7.9 inches (20cm) on the diagonal, making it larger than the 7-inch (17.7cm) screens of the competitors. It also sports two cameras, on the front and on the back, which the competitors don't.

The iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and weighs 0.31kg, half as much as the full-size iPad with its 9.7-inch (24.6cm) screen, Schiller said.

New design

The screen resolution is 1024 by 768 pixels, the same as the iPad 2 and a quarter of the resolution of the flagship iPad, which starts at $499.

"It's not just a shrunken-down iPad, it's an entirely new design," Schiller said.

Apple's late founder, Steve Jobs, attacked the whole idea of smaller tablets in his last appearance on a conference call with analysts, in October 2010.

"The reason we wouldn't make a 7-inch tablet isn't because we don't want to hit a price point. It's because we don't think you can make a great tablet with a 7-inch screen," Jobs said. "The 7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad."

Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue had a different opinion at the time. He had come to the conclusion that a 7-inch tablet would work well, and tried to convince Jobs that it was a product the company should pursue. In an internal e-mail sent in January 2011, he said Jobs was starting to come around.

The e-mail surfaced as part of Apple's patent trial against Samsung Electronics this year. Jobs died last October.

Company watchers have been expecting the iPad Mini for a year, and most of the details, except the price, had leaked out. More surprisingly, Apple also said it's upgrading its full-size iPad tablet just six months after launching a new model, doubling the speed of the processor. Previously, the company has updated the iPad once a year.

The fourth-generation iPad will have a better camera and work on more "LTE" wireless data networks around the world. Apple is also replacing the 30-pin dock connector with the new, smaller "Lightning" connector introduced with the iPhone 5 a month ago.

The price of the new full-size model stays the same as the previous version, starting at $499 for a Wi-Fi-only version with 16 gigabytes of memory.

100 million iPads

Apple has sold more than 100 million iPads since April 2010. Analysts expect Apple to sell 5 million to 10 million iPad minis before the year is out.

Apple also introduced a 13-inch (33cm) MacBook Pro laptop with a "Retina" display sporting four times the resolution of the older model.

The new model follows a 15-inch(38cm) MacBook Pro with a Retina display introduced this summer, and goes on sale Tuesday for $1 699.

The old MacBook Pro will still be sold, starting at $1 199.

The new model dispenses with an optical disc drive and a traditional hard drive. Instead, it uses solid-state "flash" memory. This makes it 20% thinner and at 1.7kg, nearly 450g lighter than the previous model.

Apple also eliminated the optical drive from its new iMac desktop computer, helping slim the edges down to 5mm, one-fifth the thickness of the old model. That makes the edges thinner than most stand-alone computer monitors. It bulges in middle of the back, however.

An iMac model with a 21.5-inch (54.6cm) screen will start shipping in November for $1 299 and up, Schiller said. A 27-inch (68.5cm) version will start at $1 799.

  • adrian.hill.750 - 2012-10-23 23:43

    Another overpriced crappy crapple. Samsung Rulez...

      lablue.phoenix - 2012-10-24 08:41

      Dude, you're 40 and spell "Rules" with a "z". But that's besides the point. What the hell does it matter what you prefer? It's just a product for crying out loud, to each his own.

      leenesh.singh - 2012-10-24 09:33

      I am a Samsung fanboy. Whenever I used to see a Samsung logo I used to kiss it....then I got my granny to make me a Samsung teddy bear so I could hold it and sleep. These days whenever I see a Samsung logo or a Galaxy 3, I dry hump it. I just love reading every new Apple article so I can comment about Samsung products. I can’t wait for Windows 8 Mobile to make it big in the market so I can comment about Samsung products on those News articles. I mean that’s why most people go to stories about Apple read my comments about my Samsung fetish.

  • dan.gleebits.33 - 2012-10-24 00:17

    I - Pad mini? Sounds like a pantie shield for those \light days\.

  • faizieishlah.shabalala - 2012-10-24 04:46

    Tell me how does this tech junk help your debt ridden lives. U wont afford the electricity to run it

  • Meister01 - 2012-10-24 05:36

    Always interesting how everytimr Blackberry suddenly goes offline or give problems, a few days later, Apple releases a new phone. I smell a rat.

  • Teuneman - 2012-10-24 08:06

    I hate apple

      lablue.phoenix - 2012-10-24 08:42

      Cause you can't afford it?

      dou.toit - 2012-10-24 09:02

      Once tasted, you will never look back

      Havokreeka - 2012-10-24 09:32

      Because they have retarded fan-boys lie @lablue.phoenix Biggest load of crap I've ever had to work on. Over priced and under powered. All these people going "It looks so good" are retarded. It looks just like the other ipads, but smaller. Besides I prefer tech where I'm not "boxed in" to using only certain software.

      Teuneman - 2012-10-24 09:58

      lablue.phoenix2012/10/24 08:42:37 AM\r\nCause you can't afford it?\r\n1   3 \r\n\r\nAre you my accountant?

  • chris.booise - 2012-10-24 08:17

    I hope Samsung sue, lol

  • tamlin.vanheerver - 2012-10-24 08:20

    I suppose it was better than making an iPad Heavy Flow! Apple is so lost, just like it was 15 years ago and bankrupt, running out of ideas fast. I mean really iPad Mini? WTF, they dont listen to what the consumer wants, unlike all the other manufactures who do listen. For R50 less for the basic model and even more for the decent model we will give you not a BMW 3 series but a BMW 1 series with a smaller engine and less of everything, because thats what you want right, you want less for more to say to the Joneses, "look at me! I have no idea what im doing but I love wasting money on outdated expensive junk!"

  • stirrer.stirrer - 2012-10-24 09:43


  • martin.neate - 2012-10-24 10:10

    apple are a rip-off have been for a long time richest company i the USA

  • husaberg.twostroke - 2012-10-24 10:50

    Other i pads are way cheaper maybe half cheaper in the US. Personally I think apples to late to capture that segment of the market. IE smaller screen ect.

  • olivia.karnak - 2012-10-25 15:37

    Jeeez, not even much smaller, rather just go for the bigger one, cheaper anyway.

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