Apple on Tuesday introduced iPad mini, the much-anticipated smaller version of its iPad tablet computer, in an attempt to further marginalize its competitors in the tablet market.
Compared to its 9.7-inch full-sized predecessors, the iPad mini features a 7.9-inch screen. It is 7.2 mm thin and weighs 0.68 pound.
The new product has the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, is equipped with front-facing and back cameras and can deliver up to 10 hours of battery life.
With dual-core A5 chip inside, the iPad mini has HD Facetime, Apple’s video calling software application and some models support the fast LTE wireless network.
Speaking at a press event held in San Jose in the U.S. state of California, Apple executives noted that the iPad mini is “every inch an iPad,” saying it is the “concentration not the reduction” of the full-sized iPad and is easy to use with one hand.
The company added that the new product is environmentally friendly as it is free of some major toxic chemicals and recyclable.
Apple executives also used the occasion to highlight the differences between iPad mini and the latest Android tablet.
Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, said there is “gigantic differences” between the iPad mini and the 7-inch tablet running Google’s Android mobile system.
The iPad mini is made of aluminum and glass while the Android tablet is plastic, Schiller said.
He pointed out that the diagonal length of iPad mini’s 7.9 inch and Android tablet’s 7 inch leads to a big difference in real size, making the iPad mini 35 percent larger than the Android tablet in physical size.
He also noted that Apple’s iOS environment offers a better user experience for many popular applications than the Android product.
The 16 GB Wi-Fi-only model of the iPad mini is priced at 329 U. S. dollars. Preorder will start on Oct. 26 and the Wi-Fi-only version will hit store shelves on Nov. 2, with models that have both Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity scheduled to ship a couple of weeks later.
Also on Tuesday, Apple introduced the fourth generation of its full-sized iPad, which doubles the CPU and graphic performance than the previous models while maintains 10-hour battery life.
The new 9.7-inch iPad features A6X chip, LTE network support, HD Face time and the new Lightning connector for Apple devices.
According to Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook, the company has sold over 100 million iPads since it debuted the device two and a half years ago.
The iPad has outpaced other tablet products in terms of web usage, with 91 percent of tablet web traffic comes from iPad, Cook said at the press event.
The iPad series have been well received in education and in enterprise sector, he said, noting that iPad is being used by 94 percent of Fortune 500 companies.
Data from research firm IDC showed that in the second quarter of 2012, Apple kept dominating the global tablet market with a share of 68.2 percent.
Some analysts called the iPad mini the “worst nightmare” for Apple’s competitors in the tablet market as companies like Google and Amazon have been using the low-priced and small size products to fight for the tablet market left by iPad.
Apple’s new lineup of devices including the iPad mini will maintain the company’s market momentum, predicted Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst from research firm Forrester.
A smaller, lighter and cheaper iPad could help Apple attract more consumers such as female buyers, she said.
“The iPad Mini, starting at 329 dollars, doesn’t meet its competitors lowest prices, but it doesn’t have to,” the analyst wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.