Apple unveils 7.9-inch iPad mini

Dylan Bushell-Embling
24 Oct 2012

Apple has unveiled the widely-expected iPad Mini in an apparent response to Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Fire HD - but has raised eyebrows by pricing the device at a substantial premium to its rivals.

The new iPad Mini has a 7.9-inch 1024-768 display, a dual-core A5 processor and both front and back cameras, Apple revealed.

As with previous iPads, it comes in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + cellular models. The device uses Apple's new Lightning connector.

All in all, the unveiling brings few surprises that hadn't been predicted ad nauseum. What is perhaps a surprise is the price.

The base version of the iPad mini will launch on November 2 for an RRP of $329 in the US. While this is cheaper than the RRP of the full-size iPad, it is still significantly more expensive than the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7.

Opinion is divided as to the impact the price will have on consumer adoption of the new product. Infonetics directing analyst Julian Blin said he expects many customers won't mind paying what amounts to a $130 premium for the iPad brand.

But he predicted that Apple will drop the price of the iPad mini to $200 next year, as it introduces the iPad mini 2. This price drop will “put extra pressure on competing OEMs and force some of them to exit the market,” Blin forecast.

Other pundits have expressed concern that the price tag could turn off consumers, and leave competing products enticing alternatives in the minds of consumers.

Regardless of the price, Ovum principal analyst Adam Leach said the launch marks the “first time in its recent history [Apple] is responding to market pressures from its competitors - namely Google and Amazon - in bringing a smaller tablet to market.”

This suggests Apple could finally be playing catch-up rather than setting market trends, Leach said.

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