iPad Mini release date, price and specs news and rumours all rolled into one. Read all the latest surrounding Apple miniature slate
Update: The iPad Mini unveiled! Apple has revealed iPad mini prices, specs and preorder details in San Jose, as well as a host of stunning tech including the iPad 4, a Macbook Pro Retina 13 inch and a new Mac Mini - check our iPad Mini Launch live blog for the full story.
iPad Mini: When is it out?
Apple held a special event on October 23rd to unveil the iPad Mini. Preorders will begin on October 26th. The invitation hinted at something small but important by using the words “We've got a little more to show you.”
The company also used the event to update the Mac Mini, iMac and bring out a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. Older reports claimed that the new 13-inch display will boast a resolution of 2,560-by-1,650 pixels which is a pixel density of 230 pixels-per-inch, a slight step up from the 220 pixels-per-inch of the 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display.
An anonymous developer has used what appears to be a new version of the New iPad which was discovered in app analytics by MacRumors. The device is coded iPad 3,6, suggesting it is part of the current iPad family, which is coded iPad 3,1, iPad 3,2 and iPad 3,3.
This lines up with reports that the third-generation iPad will get a modest update at the event including the new lightning connector, possibly an updated A6 processor from the iPhone 5 and updated LTE support so it works in the UK.
Apple has been expected to whip the covers off the iPad Mini at any moment for some weeks, to fend of competition from rival firms, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Google, which launched the Google Nexus 7 tablet a few months back.
At first, critics found it hard to believe that Apple would launch a mini slate, simply because its late leader, Steve Jobs, openly criticised them. But with 7-inch tablets performing extremely well in terms of sales recently, it's believed the Cupertino-based firm may have had a change of heart.
The rumours emerged just weeks after Barnes and Noble launched its Nook range of tablets, while online retailer Amazon is gearing up to launch its new Kindle Fire tablets at the end of the month. The iPad Mini is expected to be available in shops from November 2 in time for the pre-Christmas rush, priced between £150-£200.
iPad Mini: How much will it cost?
Chinese sources claim that the miniature iPad will be priced at around $250-$300 (£156-£187 respectively). Apple devices are notoriously expensive, so the launch of a cheap(er) tablet is a clear indication that the San Francisco firm is pulling out all the stops to ensure Amazon doesn't steal its tablet crown.
Some analysts also believe the launch of a mid-sized tablet will fend off competition from the likes of Samsung and Microsoft, both of which have been very active in their pursuits to overtake the world's biggest company. Analysts claim Apple stands to gain about $100 in profit for each tablet sold. That figure is based on a calculation of its potential innards, with the screen costing the most at $49.54.
Despite an Amazon Kindle Fire UK release date not being set yet, the tablet is creating a buzz on British shores. It was released in the US in November last year and, according to reports, 3.9m units were sold in the run up to Christmas.
Samsung has also seen miniature success in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Note, a tablet and mobile phone all-in-one sporting a colour-rich 5.3-inch screen.
The device has sold over 5m units despite only being released a few months ago, and its follow-up, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, is expected to be unveiled at the IFA show in Berlin in August.
Although going miniature seems to be the new fad in tablet design, critics believe that Apple will buck the trend, according to MacWorld.
The late Apple boss Steve Jobs once famously dissed mid-sized slates during an Apple earnings call in October 2010, saying: “The 10in screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps. 7in tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone, and too small to compete with an iPad.”
““These are among the reasons that the current crop of 7-inch tablets are going to be DOA -- dead on arrival,” he said.
iPad Mini: What specs will it have?
The controversial motherboard manufacturer Foxconn and the design and electronics manufacturer Pegatron, two of Apple's most devoted iKit producers, have apparently already been briefed about the iPad Mini. They will, according to reports, be actively involved in the production of the device.
Whether the iPad Mini will function as a mobile phone remains to be seen, however, it is believed it will have a 7.85 inch display according to supply chain sources and also be thinner. Additionally leaked photos sent to MacRumors of the battery suggest it will sit between the iPhone 5 and iPad 2 battery capacities at 5.45 Watt-Hours.
Has the first iPad Mini case been outed?
Case manufacturers might not get their hands on the device ahead of everyone else, but they often have a good idea of the kind of dimensions we can expect to see. Step forward Hard Candy cases who have seemingly outed the first iPad Mini case. The rugged cover that is priced in $49.95 is set to be available in red or black, however the very same company jumped the gun on an iPhone 5 case, that didn't actually fit the handset. Have they got it right this time? Only time will tell...
How has Apple reacted to Microsoft Surface?
Although we all expected to see a batch of Windows 8 tablets arrive this year, none of us expected a Microsoft-branded slate. The software giant unveiled the Microsoft Surface tablet earlier this month, although a release date and price point is yet to be allocated.
The Windows 8-toting device measures in at 10-6 inches and sports a rugged Gorilla Glass 2 display. Also in the mix is a stunning 1920x1080p Full HD ClearType screen and a USB 3.0 connector. It will be available in two storage models: 64GB and 128GB.
What will the surprise release of the Surface mean for Apple? We're yet to hear how the bods over at Cupertino have reacted to the news but we'll update this post the minute we hear more.