On Tuesday Apple announced the release of the iPad mini, a smaller version of its ever popular tablet. The device will have a 7.9 inch screen, smaller than the 9.7 full-sized model, and will weigh about half as much.
It will go on sale on November 2, with the 16 gigabyte model going for $329. The same size with cellular connectivity will be $459. Thirty-two and 64 gigabyte versions are also available, with the most expensive being $659. The full-sized iPad with retina display starts at $499 and can be as expensive as $829.
The company said that the new product is not merely a smaller version of its predecessor:
"It's not just a shrunken-down iPad, it's an entirely new design," said Apple Marketing Chief Phil Schiller.
The iPad mini is Apple's attempt to compete with smaller tablets that have become popular ever since the company essentially invented the device in 2010. Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus both have screens to the mini's smaller size and lower price points than the full-sized iPad. The soon-to-be-released Microsoft Surface will all vie for a share of the increasingly crowded tablet market; prices will also start at $499 for the 10.6 inch device. Despite the competition, Apple has sold 100 million iPads and still maintains 70 percent of the market share.
U.S. News's Rick Newman said the product is an attempt for Apple to defend itself from competition on both ends of the market, but the lack of innovation in the company may prevent success:
What Apple hasn't demonstrated lately, though, is something entirely new that will lock in the high profit margins that made Apple the world's most valuable company over the last few years. It has mostly been rolling out incremental improvements on old products—which is basically what the iPad mini is. Apple still has a remarkable knack for squeezing money from devoted consumers, but without new innovations, that may not be enough to sustain the company's sky-high profitability.
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