Considering that Apple’s invitation proclaimed that were was “a lot to cover” today, it comes as no surprise that the announcement train is still chugging along. And after the usual weeks of leaks and speculative hype, Apple’s Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller has finally unveiled the new iPad mini onstage at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco.
Enough beating around the bush: The most notable thing about this year’s mini is its Retina display, which runs at 2048×1536 just like its full-sized brethren. Schiller noted that the display was one of the most-requested features (which is hardly a surprise) but it’s heartening to see that some of those more conservative rumors were off-base.
Sadly, there’s no TouchID sensor to be found here, so you’ll have to unlock your new tablet the old-fashioned way for at least another year.
I hope you weren’t expecting a dramatic shift in design this time, as the new-generation iPad mini looks nearly identical to the model that preceded it. That’s hardly a surprise — Apple liked it so much they used the same design language for the new full-size iPad Air. And like the recently launched iPhone 5s, Apple has opted to offer the new mini in two color configurations: space gray and black, and silver and white. The new mini and the 5s actually share a brain, too, as the 64-bit A7 chip (which Apple has referred to as a “desktop” class chip) currently powers both devices.
According to Schiller, this new iPad mini will officially hit store shelves some time in November, with price tags that start at $399. Meanwhile, presumably in a bid to bolster the company’s position ahead of the holidays, the original iPad mini will still stick around. Naturally, there’s a price cut to look forward to, as well — the base model first-gen iPad mini will cost $299. Between these revamped minis, the iPad Air, a pair of new iPhones, and some less-expensive, refreshed Mac hardware, Apple is clearly going for blood this holiday season. Now it’s time to wait and see how the rest of the industry responds.