Apple unveils smaller version of iPad


Apple chief executive Tim Cook today introduced a smaller version of the iPad designed to keep customers from buying low-cost tablets from competitors Microsoft Amazon and Google.

Apple unveiled the iPad Mini at an event today in San Jose, California. The device boasts a 7.9- inch screen diagonally, compared with the 9.7-inch screen of the current iPad.

The iPad Mini will sell in the United States for $329 (€253), higher than some industry observers had expected, for the wi-fi-only 16GB model.

The company, targeting Google and Amazon with their $199 seven-inch tablets, said online sales will begin on Friday and shipments starting a week later, arriving in shops from November 2nd.

By broadening the iPad lineup, Cupertino, California-based Apple aims to add to its 70 per cent share of the market just as Microsoft introduces its own device, called the Surface, and Google and Amazon make upgrades to their own portable computer lines.

Apple has sold more than 100 million iPads since co-founder Steve Jobs introduced the device in January 2010, creating a market among consumers, businesses and schools seeking a gadget that blends features of a laptop with the mobility of a handheld phone.

By adding another model at a different price, Apple is mimicking the multigadget strategy it used to make iPod the top-selling media player.

A smaller tablet is the first device to be added to Apple's compact portfolio under Mr Cook, who took over from co-founder Steve Jobs just before his death.

A smaller iPad also may entice customers who want a computing device that's easier to use on the go, said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research. "It could be that a smaller, lighter iPad will be more portable and will appeal to a wider segment of customers," she said.

A lower price also will undercut a selling point of Amazon, Google and Barnes and Noble, which have tried to win over customers by charging less than the iPad's $499 (€384) starting price, she added.

Introducing a smaller iPad is a reversal for Apple. Before his death last year, Jobs had said customers wouldn't like having less screen space. "This size isn't sufficient to create great tablet apps, in our opinion," Jobs said in 2010 of seven-inch tablets.

Apple also introduced upgrades across its computer product line at the San Jose event today, adding a redesigned iMac desktop with a thinner profile, a more powerful Mac mini and a 13-inch notebook that boasts a high-definition display.

The iMac, which integrates the display and components into a single unit, now is five millimetres thick at the edges, and includes more power computing and expanded data storage options. The 21.5-inch iMac will sell from $1,299 and the 27-inch from $1,799, from November.

The company unveiled a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a high-definition display and thinner profile. The 13-inch version will start at $1,699 (€1,309). Apple had introduced a 15-inch laptop earlier this year with high-definition screen.


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