After months of leaks, rumors and speculation, Apple (s aapl) introduced a smaller version of its popular iPad tablet starting at $329 on Tuesday. The iPad mini is a 7.9-inch tablet that runs the same iOS software as Apple’s other mobile devices but can easily be held in one hand. The device is available for pre-order on Oct. 26 and is expected to arrive in customer hands and Apple retail stores on Nov. 2.
Prior to the product launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook, noted that Apple has sold 100 million iPads to date. There’s still room in the market for a smaller device, however, which is where the iPad mini fits in at 7.2 millimeters thin and 0.68 pounds. All of the existing iPad software works on the iPad mini — including the new iBooks 3 app — which uses the same 1024 x 768 resolution as the original iPad model. The new model should be more portable; something I noted last January about smaller tablets.
Phil Schiller showed off the new iPad mini in a head-to-head comparison with Google’s(s goog) flagship tablet, the Nexus 7. Most of the presentation illustrated how iOS shows more information on the browser — up to 49 percent more — and in apps due to Android’s need for on-screen controls.
Schiller explained the iPad Mini uses a dual-core Apple A5 chip, comes in Wi-Fi and LTE models, has a 720p iSight camera on the front and 5 megapixel camera on the back. Battery life is 10 hours. A new Smart Cover is also available as an option for iPad mini.
The base $329 product is a Wi-Fi model with 16 GB of storage. Adding LTE support is costs $130 more and storage can be boosted to 32 GB or 64 GB for $100 per optional increase.