Apple announces $329 iPad Mini with 7.9 inch display and fourth generation iPad

Apple today unveiled two new tablet models, the iPad Mini and fourth generation iPad. Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller announced the widely anticipated iPad Mini would feature a 7.9 inch screen with 1024 x 768 resolution, dual-core A5 processor and a $329 starting price point.

Apple also upgraded its retina display iPads. The fourth generation iPad now comes with dual-core A6X processor with quad-core graphics. According to Apple, the new chip set delivers double the CPU and graphics performance of the previous generation’s A5X quad-core chip. The fourth generation iPad also boasts an HD front-facing camera and expanded LTE support. Like the previous model, Apple claims the fourth generation iPad will have 10 hours of battery life.

Small enough to fit in one hand, the iPad Mini is 7.2 mm thin — 23 percent thinner than the iPad with Retina display. The Mini also weighs 0.68 pounds, which is 50 percent lighter than the iPad with Retina display. Apple says the iPad Mini is thin as a pencil and light as a pad of paper.

The iPad Mini sports the same features found in the iPad with Retina display including a front-facing FaceTime HD camera, 5MP rear-facing iSight camera that can shoot 1080p video and LTE wireless capability. The iPad Mini retains the 1024 x 768 resolution found in the iPad 2.

Falling in line with iPhone 5, fifth generation iPod Touch and seventh generation iPod Nano, the iPad Mini and the fourth generation iPad have replaced Apple’s proprietary 30-pin dock connector with the new Lightning connector.

Wireless connectivity-wise, both the iPad Mini and iPad with Retina display have 802.11n Wi-Fi and is said to be twice as fast as the previous generation of iPads.

Compared to the third generation iPad, both the third generation iPad and iPad with Retina display are identical in many facets such as height, width, depth, weight, storage capacity options, screen size, resolution and more. Where the iPad with Retina display differs is with its dual-core A6X processor versus the dual-core A5X chip found in the third generation iPad as well as the iPad with Retina display’s FaceTime HD camera.

An entirely new Smart Cover has been designed for the iPad Mini that eliminates the aluminum hinge found on the larger iPad, meaning the cover material wraps around the side of the device. Covers are available in blue, green, pink, light gray, dark gray and red.

The iPad Mini starts at $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, the lowest price yet for any iPad. The other configurations consumers can choose from include a $429 32GB Wi-Fi only model, $529 64GB Wi-Fi only model, $459 16GB Wi-Fi and cellular model, $559 32GB Wi-Fi and cellular model and $659 64GB Wi-Fi and cellular model. The iPad with Retina Display keeps the same price points as the third generation iPads: $499 16GB Wi-Fi, $599 32GB Wi-Fi, $699 64GB Wi-Fi, $629 16GB Wi-Fi and cellular, $729 32GB Wi-Fi and cellular and $829 64GB Wi-Fi and cellular. The iPad Mini is availaible in both white and sliver and black and slate like the iPhone 5. The fourth generation iPad comes in both black and white.

Pre-ordering for the iPad Mini and fourth generation iPad begin on Oct. 26. The Wi-Fi only models will ship first on Nov. 2 in select countries. Two weeks after, the Wi-Fi and cellular models will begin shipping worldwide.