Apple has officially unleashed the iPad Mini with company executives insisting that global consumers will not be getting a watered-down version of its bigger sibling - what will be rolled out come Nov 2 is an entirely new gadget, said the tech titan.
Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller beamed with pride as he held the new toy and declared: "This is iPad Mini."
What was seen indeed proved the tons of speculations that wildly whirled for months - the smaller tablet was designed with a 7.9-inch screen that stretches almost to the brim of the gadget and will be powered by a dual-core A5 processor.
Front screen resolution is 1024 x 768 but image and video rendering will not be as crisp as that of the third iPad edition (and even the fourth iPad version that was also unveiled on Tuesday) because Apple's Retina display technology was not deployed with the iPad Mini, purportedly to allow the new tablet to be tagged with a lower sticker price.
Apple deliberately stripped down the features that consumers have relished on the regular iPad but at least the same experience will be there though a little bit tempered.
The tablet will access the net via Wi-Fi and cellular networks and should be compatible with Australia's 4G-LTE networks, which by itself is an edge over the last iPad issue that encountered 4G connectivity problems locally.
Apple, according to Mr Schiller, was careful not to treat the iPad Mini as the lesser version of the regular-sized iPad, which the company said has already achieved total sales of more than 100 million, cementing its reputation as the world's dominant tablet computer.
Sustaining that high stature, Mr Schiller assured too that would-be buyers of the new Apple product would not be ripped off because the iPad Mini "isn't just a shrunken down iPad."
"It is an entirely new design," the Apple executive was quoted by The Australian as saying as he stressed that iPad Mini is different from the original iPad.
Expectedly, the gadget will be priced a bit lower though some tech experts thought the published price levels remain premium when compared to the Google Nexus and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, two tablets that should compete closely with the iPad Mini.
In Australia, the smaller iPad starts at $369 and could go as high as $899 depending on connectivity options and storage configuration, leaving early reviewers wondering if consumers would find it wise to opt for the more expensive Apple gadget.
Pitting the specs of the iPad Mini with those of the Nexus or Kindle Fire HD would definitely leave many consumers longing for more, experts said, but they conceded at the same time that design-wise, Apple's new offering is the better eye-candy.
For Becky Worley of Yahoo blog 'Upgrade Your Life', consumers' choice will all boil down to the ecosystem issue as she strongly recommended that buyers should stick with system where they already invested so much time and money.
"The final decision these days is about ecosystem ... if I were a committed Android phone user ... I would not get the iPad Mini," Ms Worley said.
She allowed, however, that switching would have been a lot easier "if Apple had priced the (iPad Mini) in the $US249 range."
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