SAN JOSE, Calif. – Apple Inc. on Tuesday revealed a smaller version of its hit iPad tablet computer that will start at $329 and comes with a screen that's about two-thirds the size of the full-size model.
Apple starts taking orders for the new model on Friday and will ship the Wi-Fi-only models on Nov. 2, said marketing chief Phil Schiller at an event in San Jose. Later, the company will add models capable of accessing "LTE" wireless data networks.
The iPad mini weighs 0.68 pounds, 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.
"It's not just a shrunken down iPad. It's an entirely new design," Schiller said.
Company watchers have for a year been expecting the company to release a smaller iPad to counter cheaper tablets such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle Fire. However, most were expecting it to cost between $250 and $300. At $329, it's twice the price of the basic Kindle Fire.
In a surprise, 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 $499 for a Wi-Fi-only version with 16 gigabytes of memory.
Apple also unveiled new Mac computers:
- The new iMac looks like a super-thin display screen, but Schiller noted that "there is an entire computer in here." There will be models with Apple's new fusion drive. That's a combination of the traditional, spinning hard drive and one using "flash" memory. Flash is faster, but capacity is smaller. Schiller said the fusion drive will have the speed of flash and the capacity of regular hard drives. They will come in two display sizes. The 21.5-inch version starts at $1,299, and the larger one at $1,799. They will be available in December.
- A new Mac Mini starts at $599 and comes with 4 gigabytes of RAM, or working memory, and a 500 GB hard drive for storage. A $999 version comes with a terabyte hard drive, or double the capacity.
- A new MacBook. In June, Apple introduced a MacBook Pro that is about as thin as its already-slim MacBook Air, but with a sharper display. That model had a 15.4-inch screen. At Tuesday's event, Schiller unveiled a smaller version, with a screen of 13.3 inches. He noted that the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro that Apple already makes has been the company's top-selling laptop. The new version adds the sharper display, and is thinner and lighter than the regular MacBook Pro. "In typical Apple fashion, we are going to take our best product and introduce something better and much cooler," he said. The starting price is $1,699.