New Apple iPad Mini — Like it or Hate it?

James Ryan Jonas

It’s pretty much the same Apple iPad tablet — except it’s lighter, cheaper, and fits comfortably in one hand.

That’s how Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the newest member of the iPad tablet lineup, the iPad Mini, during an Apple press event on October 23.

With the new iPad Mini, the maker of the world’s most popular tablet PC is venturing into the smaller display category, competing head-on with current products Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire. Apple’s move is meant to eat back the market shares owned by lower-cost tablets produced by Google, Amazon, and other Android players.

When Steve Jobs was still alive, the Apple founder was quoted as saying the company was not planning to make a tablet with a smaller display size. The market for such products, however, consistently grew through the years and Apple recently found itself losing market shares to smaller-display tablets.

The new iPad Mini is smaller, thinner, and lighter and is touted by Apple as a device that can be held comfortably in one hand.

It has a smaller screen compared to the iPad 2 and 3, with display size of 7.9 inches, as opposed to the previous iPad’s 9.7-inches screen. In contrast, both Google’s Nexus 7 tablet and Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet sport a 7-inch display.

The iPad Mini shares most of the features of the previous version iPad 2, and the display also lacks retina display which is already in the iPad 3.

Like the iPad 2, the iPad Mini runs on a Dual Core A5 processor and has an average battery life of 10 hours.

Improvements of the iPad Mini on the iPad 2, however, include a front-facing FaceTime camera with 720p HD video capture (only VGA quality in iPad 2), 5MP iSight back camera with 1080p HD video recording (only 720p in iPad 2), the Lightning bolt connector (replacing the 30-pin dock on the previous iPad versions), and the appearance of Siri the intelligent assistant.

The new iPad Mini 16GB wifi sells for $329, while the same iPad 2 16GB wifi will continue to be sold at $399.

The iPad Mini will be available for sale in several countries starting November 2.

Primary Specs:

  • Display: 9.9 inches; 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Operating System: iOS 6.0
  • System on Chip (SoC) / Processor: A5X
  • Storage: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
  • Back Camera: iSight 5MP camera with 1080p HD video recording
  • Front Camera: 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video capture
  • Weight: 0.68 lb (308 g)
  • Height: 7.87 inches (200 mm)
  • Width: 5.3 inches (134.7 mm)
  • Depth: 0.28 inch (7.2 mm)
  • Colors: Black or White
  • 16 GB Wifi – $329
  • 32 GB Wifi – $429
  • 64 GB Wifi – $529
  • 16 GB Wifi + 3G – $459
  • 32 GB Wifi + 3G – $559
  • 64 GB Wifi + 3G – $659
  • November 2 (Friday) in the following countries: US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK
  • Online pre-orders start on October 26

Let’s have a quick poll. Do you like or hate the new Apple iPad Mini?

[poll id=”10″]

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James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.