Apple Announces iPad Mini, Surprise Fourth-Gen iPad, and Other Thin Machines
After a summer of speculation, mock-ups, and leaked photos, Apple announced the iPad Mini on Tuesday, along with an updated full-sized iPad, dramatically slimmed-down iMac, 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, and new Mac Mini.
As with the iPhone 5, the last few months' Mini leaks proved not only accurate but pretty thorough, and the device is right in line with expectations: dual-core A5 guts and a 7.9-inch, 1024 x 768 screen, both more or less plucked from the iPad 2 component-pile and stuffed into a breezy aluminum body. But at $329 for the base 16 GB model, it's hard to call the price proportionally breezy -- even folks like John Gruber are saying the Mini's price-scheme seems about thirty bucks too high.
Other Mini specs include:
- 0.68 pounds, 7.2 millimeter profile
- 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera, 5 megapixel back-facing
- 512 MB RAM (probably)
- WiFi and LTE options
- The typical 16/32/64 GB storage breakdown
The fourth-generation full-sized iPad came as a bit more of a surprise, adding a Lightning port and new A6X chip, which reputedly runs twice as fast as the third-gen iPad. This refresh seems to straddle the line between an incremental and substantive upgrade, and maybe sheds some light on the "new iPad" naming convention. If this were a high-profile, numbered upgrade, it would feel like too little and too soon. As far as the typical consumer is concerned, I wonder if this is supposed to be a quiet update: putting guts and ports where Apple wants them without a whole lot of hoopla.
Also, there's a new iMac. It's pretty thin.
These are available in 21.5 and 27-inch versions, beginning at $1300 and $1800 respectively. The iMacs are much more configurable than iPads, of course, but start with quad-core i5 processors and up to 32GB of RAM. There's also an updated Mac Mini: the $600 base model now features a 2.3GHz dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is now available with a Retina Display, starting from $1700.
If you're so inclined, you can pre-order the iPad Mini this Friday for delivery on the November 2 release date. The iMac releases later in November; the Mac Mini and 13-inch Retina MacBook are available now.