Apple is set to pull back the curtain on new products Tuesday, including what many expect will be a smaller version of the iPad. The Washington Post’s Hayley Tsukayama and Caitlin Dewey will be on hand to provide commentary on the event as it happens.
The iPad Mini is new, light, thin -- and, according to some disgruntled consumers, either poorly timed or way too expensive. The Mini starts at $329, higher than some consumers expected (and almost twice as expensive as some comparable tablets). Apple also unveiled a 4th-generation iPad today, only seven months after the company released the iPad 3, setting off an outcry from those who had purchased the earlier version.
Dennis Berman, the Wall Street Journal's Marketplace editor, sums up the loudest complaints about the Mini:
— Dennis K. Berman (@dkberman) October 23, 2012
Other consumers, like this self-professed "Apple fanboy," echoed those gripes:
Not feeling the iPad mini yet. And the pricing not helping. We'll see. Looking real hard at the 13" Retina MBP though.Tempting much. #apple
— guyon (@guyct) October 23, 2012
— mrPursuitofHappiness (@JonTeszlewicz) October 23, 2012
— dip (@dipsethi) October 23, 2012
In Apple fan forums such as MacRumors, the debate got hotter. A 10-year MacRumors veteran named Spock complained that his new iPad 3 is already outdated: "For shame, Apple, for shame." Ibuyufo writes only: "Screwed by Apple ... again."
Over on Reddit, discussion revolved around iPad alternatives.
When users weren't complaining about the timing of the iPad 4 or the price of the iPad Mini, they had plenty to say about whether Apple is innovating enough and if the company stands to lose its market share.
"That's how technology works ... things can get smaller, lighter, faster, etc.," says MacRumor commenter Alfuh. "Anyone who knows Apple would have expected that ... does that sound innovative to you?"
But for every hater, there are plenty of Apple fans anxious to get the latest gadget in their hands.
Was so tempted to buy the iPhone 5, knowing fully well I didn't really have much use for it. The iPad mini is just what I was looking for :)
— Maahir Zaveri (@z_maahir) October 23, 2012
So what's the general consensus on Apple's latest device? Only time -- and holiday sales numbers -- will tell.
Apple's share price fell dramatically during the launch event, plunging more when the company announced the price of the iPad mini.
As of 2:30 p.m., Eastern, the company's stock is down nearly 2.5 percent -- more than $15 -- and falling.
Consumers, meanwhile, may be reeling from the news that Apple is updating the iPad just six months after the company introduced the third-generation of its tablet. Apple has been releasing an updated iPad every year. This shortened product cycle already isn't sitting well with people who just shelled out $499 or more for the old "new iPad."
It may be too soon to tell how many people tuned into Apple's live-stream today, but the hash tags #appleevent and #keynote trended worldwide on Twitter -- meaning that, in the narrow world of Twitter, at least, a whole lot of people were listening.
According to the Twitter analytics site Trendsmap.com, most #apple tweeters were, unsurprisingly, in the United States, Europe, South Africa and Central America. Another analytics site, Hashtag.org, estimates that 40,000 tweets were sent about Apple in the hour before the press conference even began.
Tim Cook is back on the stage, highlighting all of the company's accomplishments for the year.
"We told you earlier this year that you'd see some incredible innovation from Apple across the year, innovation only Apple can deliver. We think we kept our promise and I hope you agree," he said. Now he's taking the audience back through the company's releases of the year: the iPhone 5, the new iPods, iOS 6, Mountain Lion, notebook refreshes, new iPads and a new iMac.
"It has been an incredible year, with all of these new products and all these applications and cloud services, this has been a truly prolific year for Apple," Cook said, before extending a big shout-out to his team.
Annnnnd that's a wrap! Thanks for reading!
Apple's showing a TV spot for the iPad, and it's oh-too-sweet: a larger iPad is laying down the bass part for "Heart and Soul" while the iPad mini is sitting side-by-side and taking the treble line.
The iPad mini will cost $329, which is far more than the competitors' price point of $199. Pre-orders start on Friday, and the WiFI versions will ship Nov. 2.
The cellular versions will ship two weeks later, first to the United States, then to international markets.
The iPad 2 will remain part of the company's line-up, and -- as we mentioned before -- the 4th-generation iPad is priced the same as the new iPad at $499 and up.
In a promotional video, Apple is showing off colored cases for the iPad mini, putting it in the hands of everyday people, such as doctors, construction workers, etc.
They're making a lot of the fact that it's easy to hold in one hand, and talking up the company's book and magazine library -- this product will be appealing to commuters.
"There is inherent loss in just reducing a product in size," said Apple's design guru Jony Ive in the promotional video. Apple purposely reduced the bezel around the display to make sure that users could use the device comfortably in one hand, Ive said.
The company has also designed new smart covers for the device that are made of one piece of material, not with an aluminum hinge.
A quick rundown of specs:
- dual-core A5 processor
- FaceTime HD front-side camera
- 5 MP iSight camera on the back
- LTE (yes, LTE)
- Lightning connector
- 10-hour battery life
Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad, Schiller said, "and they have failed miserably."
Comparing the iPad mini directly to Google's Nexus 7, Schiller said that Apple's mini screen is more than one-third larger than the 7-inch diagonal screen of the Nexus 7, making for better Web browsing.
"You can see a huge difference. The iPad mini is about 50 percent larger for surfing the Web" in the portrait orientation. It's "two-thirds" larger in landscape, he claims.
He also took a dig at the tablet apps on competitors' devices, saying that they've been simply scaled and stretched to fit those screens rather than built specifically for them.
The iPad mini is as "thin as a pencil," Schiller said, and is over 53 percent lighter than the full-size iPad. By comparison, he said, it's as "light as a pad of paper."
Same resolution as first- and second-generation iPad: 1,024 pixels by 768 pixels.
The screen is 7.9-inches, a size that Schiller said the company picked because it gives the smaller iPad the same dimensions as the iPad mini, which will be good for developers.
Schiller said that it works well in portrait and landscape orientations, and he plays up the ability to use Facetime, read magazines and use apps such as those in the iWork and iLife apps.