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Apple iPad mini, with retina display, goes on sale

The new iPad mini is projected on a screen during an Apple event in San Jose, Oct. 23, 2012. (Robert Galbraith/REUTERS)

Apple’s new iPad mini, with retina display, is now on sale and available online, at Apple retailers and through all major U.S. carriers.

The tablet, which has a 7.9-inch screen, comes in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64GB and 129 GB models. It is available with or without cellular connectivity; WiFi comes on all models. And shoppers can choose it in silver/white or black/space gray.

A quick look at Apple’s Web site on Tuesday morning showed that anyone who wants their tablet fast should opt for the 16GB or 32 GB WiFi-only models, which have a shipping time of 1-3 days. All other models have a shipping estimate of 5-10 days.

The tablet’s base model costs $399. Each increasing memory level adds $100 to the price. Cellular service on the tablet is an additional $130. Also, picking up a tablet that can use cellular data will require a plan with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile.

The “iPad mini with Retina display,” as it is officially called, made its debut at a launch event last month alongside the super-light iPad Air. Many analysts and Apple fans were happy to see that the company had brought its super-sharp display to the second generation of its smaller tablet — a key criticism of the previous model.

The iPad mini faces a particularly tough field this holiday season, with Google and Amazon both offering less-expensive tablets that are roughly the same size as the iPad mini. The Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablet and Nexus 7 both start at $229, and while neither has the same breadth of popular tablet apps as does the iPad mini, they’re still very attractive for the more casual users who tend toward smaller tablets.

In addition, there may also be some competition from inside the company. While the iPad Air, at $499, is more expensive than the iPad mini, its thinner and lighter build makes it a better option for those who want a larger tablet they can carry around outside the home.

(Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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