Several years ago Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs criticized media tablets with 7” displays, claiming that they do not provide enough screen space for Internet browsing and other tasks. Nonetheless, Apple this month introduced its own iPad Mini with 7.9” display to better compete against numerous rivals with small tablets. Still, the company claims that the new tablet was designed to be smaller, not exactly cheaper.
“When we set out the bill, the iPad Mini, we did not set out the bill to small cheap tablet, we set out the bill to smaller iPad that offers the full iPad experience as our customers would expect. As a result, the difference between the iPad Mini and the competition is profound, our iPad Mini begins with a 7.9” display, which is 35% larger than 7” tablets, providing a much better experience. We are shipping two great cameras: FaceTime HD front and a 5MP iSight rear camera versus typically one from our competition. We are shipping our fastest communications with dual-band Wi-Fi and have included the A5 chip, which has higher performance than our competitors. Finally, the fit and finish of our precision unibody aluminum closure is breathtaking when held in your hands,” said Peter Oppenheimer, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Apple, during a conference call with financial analysts.
The CFO of Apple also mentioned that the iPad Mini is rather expensive to maker and its gross margin is significantly below the company’s average. Apple hopes to bring the manufacturing costs of the new slate down to improve margins and is confident that it will succeed.
Apple iPad mini features 7.9” display with 1024*768 resolution (163ppi) and is based on the same chip that powers Apple iPad 2, the A5 (dual-core ARM Cortex-A9, PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics core, 1GHz clock-speed, 32nm process technology). The tablet features 512MB RAM, 16GB/32GB/64GB NAND flash storage, 5MP rear camera with backside illumination, 1.2MP front camera, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS/Glonass (cellular version only), “world-ready” 3G, HSPA+ (21Mb/s), DC-HSPA (42Mb/s) and 4G/LTE (73Mb/s). iPad mini comes in a new aluminum and glass design that is 7.2mm thick and weighs up to 312 grams/0.69 pounds. The device comes with Apple iOS 6 operating system. Just like all the new gadgets from Apple, the iPad mini utilizes Lightning connector, which is speedier and more robust than the 30-pin connect Apple has been using for about a decade.
Thanks to 4:3 aspect ratio of the 7.9” screen, the new iPad is not only compatible with all applications ever designed for the original iPad and iPad 2, but should provide a little better user experience compared to popular 7”-class media tablets with 16:9 displays. Unfortunately, the side bezels of the iPad mini’s screen look too thin, which may ruin the experience in certain use cases.
Apple iPad mini with Wi-Fi models will be available in black & slate or white & silver on Friday, November 2, for a suggested retail price of $329 for the 16GB model, $429 for the 32GB model and $529 for the 64GB model. iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular will start shipping a couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi models, beginning in the U.S. on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.