10/23/2012 01:59 pm ET Updated Oct 24, 2012

iPad Mini Announced: Apple Unwraps New IPad At Big Media Event

Honey, Tim Cook shrunk the iPad!

After months of rumors, Apple unveiled the iPad Mini -- a smaller version of its popular iPad tablet -- at an event Tuesday at San Jose's California Theater.

Measuring 7.9 inches from corner to corner, the iPad Mini will be in direct competition with similarly sized Android tablets from the likes of Amazon, Google, Samsung and HTC. The three previous editions of the iPad were all 9.7 inches across.

The iPad Mini is Apple's attempt to hit back and gain a foothold in the market for lower-priced tablets.

In fact, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller went so far as to do a side-by-side comparison of the iPad Mini and and the Nexus 7, a rival Android tablet, explaining point by point all the way Apple considers its own tablet to be superior. Specifically, Schiller argued that the iPad Mini offers a better app experience, with native iPad apps rather than "scaled up" and "stretched" phone apps; a lighter frame (despite having a bigger screen); and what Schiller argued is a better bezel design.

“We took the time to create a product that was a concentration of, but not a reduction of, the original product,” Schiller said.

There's one key element Schiller didn't compare side-by-side, however: price.

The Nexus 7, like many other 7-inch tablets, starts at $199. A Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad Mini will start at $329 for a 16GB model, while a Wi-Fi+cellular version will start at $459. Pre-orders for the iPad Mini begin Friday, Oct. 26 -- the same day Microsoft's own Surface Tablet debuts -- and will ship on Nov. 2.

At .68 pounds with a 7.2 mm aluminum exterior, the new iPad Mini will be 53 percent lighter and 23 percent thinner than the full-sized, fourth-generation iPad, which was also unveiled at Apple's Tuesday press conference. The iPad Mini boasts a 1024x768 screen resolution, on par with previous versions of the iPad.

The iPad Mini boasts a higher-definition FaceTime camera on the front of the tablet and a 5 megapixel camera on its back; 10 hours of battery life; an A5 chip; Apple's new, skinnier Lightning connector, and, like Apple's other iPads, its own, smaller Smart Cover.

In addition to the two new iPads, Apple also announced new versions of its MacBook Pro laptops, iBooks app, Mac Mini, and iMac computers.



Apple's New iPad Mini