By AP / 3 News online staff
Apple is refusing to stoop to the level of its rivals in the tablet market - it's pricing its new, smaller iPad well above the competition.
On Tuesday, the company revealed the iPad Mini, with a screen that's about two-thirds the size of the full-size model, and said it will cost US$329 and up. In New Zealand, it will cost a minimum $479.
Apple starts taking orders for the new model on Friday October 26, said marketing chief Phil Schiller at an event in San Jose, California.
The price fits into the Apple product lineup between the iPad 2 at US$399 (NZ$579) and the latest version of the iPod touch at US$299 (NZ$459). But company watchers had been expecting Apple to price the iPad Mini at US$250 to US$300 to counter the threat of less expensive tablets like Amazon.com's Kindle Fire, which starts at US$159.
The 16GB Wi-Fi model is the cheapest, at NZ$479. The 32GB model is NZ$629, and the 64GBmodel NZ$779. The Wi-Fi and cellular models each cost about NZ$200 more than their Wi-Fi only counterparts.
The iPad mini weighs 308g, half as much as the full-size iPad, and is as thin as a pencil, Schiller said.
The screen resolution is 1024 by 768 pixels, the same as the iPad 2 and a quarter of the resolution of the third-generation iPad. Like the iPad and iPhone, it was two cameras, one on the front and one on the back.
"It's not just a shrunken-down iPad, it's an entirely new design," Schiller said.
Company watchers have been expecting the iPad Mini for a year, and most of the details, except the price, had leaked out. More surprisingly, Apple also said it's upgrading its full-size iPad tablet just six months after launching a new model, doubling the speed of the processor. Previously, the company has updated the iPad once a year.
The fourth-generation iPad will have a better camera and work on more 'LTE' wireless data networks around the world. Apple is also replacing the 30-pin dock connector with the new, smaller 'Lightning' connector introduced with the iPhone 5 a month ago.
The price of the new full-size model stays the same as the previous version, starting at US$499 (NZ$729) for a Wi-Fi-only version with 16 gigabytes of memory.
Apple has sold more than 100 million iPads since April 2010.
Also announced is the new Macbook Pro range, which has Apple's 'Retina' display, containing four times the number of pixels as the current model. It also has Flash storage only, meaning it uses much less battery than laptops with conventional hard drive storage.
It starts at NZ$2699.
Apple shares fell US$14.83, or 2.3 percent, to US$619.20 when the price was announced. Shares of Amazon.com were down 12 cents, or less than 0.1 percent, at US$233.66 while the rest of the stock market was in retreat.
AP / 3 News