— iPad Mini, Wi-Fi only, 16 gigabytes of storage, $329
— iPad Mini, Wi-Fi only, 32 GB, $429
— iPad Mini, Wi-Fi only, 64 GB, $529
— iPad Mini, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 16 GB, $459
— iPad Mini, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 32 GB, $559
— iPad Mini, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 64 GB, $659
Apple’s website will start taking advanced orders for the iPad Mini and the fourth-generation iPad on Friday. They will start shipping and go on sale in stores on Nov. 2.
The Associated Press gives its first impression of the iPad mini
Apple’s iPad Mini will bring a lot more excitement and a little more confusion to the holiday shopping season.
It only takes a few minutes playing with the iPad Mini to realize the scaled-down tablet computer will be a sure-fire hit with longtime Apple disciples and potential converts who’ve been looking for a more affordable entree into the mobile computing market.
With a 7.9-inch screen, the iPad Mini is perfectly sized to be stuffed in Christmas stockings. Recipients who will discover the pleasure and convenience of being able to take pictures, surf the Web, watch video, read books and listen to music on an exquisitely designed device that’s pancake thin.
As enticing as that all sounds, the iPad Mini also causes a dilemma, albeit a pleasant one.
The new option will make it even more difficult for holiday shoppers to figure out which mobile device to buy for their loved ones —or for themselves.
I felt the pangs of indecision within a few minutes of picking up the iPad Mini for the first time.
As the company usually does at its product unveilings, Apple Inc. only provided reporters with limited, strictly supervised access to the iPad Mini on Tuesday. That meant I could only experiment with it for about 15 minutes, but as an experienced user of the iPad 2, I could quickly see that the smaller tablet does just about everything its bigger brethren does.
Even though the Mini’s screen is 1.8 inches smaller than the standard iPad, the movie “The Avengers” looked lush, even in a side-by-side comparison with the larger tablet. When I pulled up the latest issue of the New Yorker, I didn’t have to strain to see the text or pictures on the smaller screen. A quick check of other websites verified that the Mini’s screen isn’t so tiny that it’s going to cause a lot of squinting. After I took a very crisp picture of another reporter testing out a Mini, I decided to email it to her to test how easy it was to use the keyboard on the smaller screen. No problem there. Best of all, the iPad Mini can be held in one hand and is about half the weight of the larger iPad.
So, should you go out and buy the iPad mini? Here are some pros and cons:
It’s portable: At 0.68 pounds and 0.28 inches thick, the tablet is built for portability. That means it’s good for commuters and, as Apple made a point of highlighting Tuesday, for kids.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Forrester tech analyst Sarah Rotman Epps also noted that the smaller size is good for businesses. “[In] retail, for example, or in the medical industry – carrying around full-sized iPads isn’t that practical. A smaller, lighter device expands the number of people who can use the device regularly.”
But, some say, it’s a little wide: On the other hand, because Apple wanted to be sure that the iPad mini’s ratios matched the regular iPad’s to make the transition easier for developers, some think the device is a bit wide for true one-handed operation.
In his hands-on with the device, PC World’s Sascha Segan said that the iPad mini is more than a half-inch wider than tablet competitor Nexus 7.
“There’s no denying that the additional width makes a significant ergonomic difference, and it isn’t in the iPad mini’s favor,” Segan said. The Associated Press, on the other hand, reported that it was pretty easy to use with one hand and to slip into a coat pocket — clearly the width complaint depends on the hand and pocket in question.
It opens the iPad up to new buyers:The tinier tablet, however, could expand Apple’s list of tablet buyers. We mentioned commuters, but those looking for a replacement for the old paper pad might also make the buy. It may also appeal to women, who have snapped up the Barnes & Noble Nook and Kindle Fire, which slip easily into smaller handbags.
This less expensive iPad, too, may help Apple woo those who are close to buying a tablet but spooked by the $500 starting price of the latest regular-size iPad.
But it’s still pretty pricey: At $329, the tablet is, as Epps put it “less expensive, but it’s not cheap.” Cheap, of course, is the main selling point of the iPad mini’s top mini rivals, which are priced at $199.
The $130 price difference is a big one and likely will make consumers think twice about rushing out to buy Apple’s mini.