Steve Jobs said it would never happen. Yet a smaller Apple just fell from the iPad tree.
Apple execs have finally unveil the company's long-awaited iPad mini -- something Jobs once declared the company would never do. The new $329 product is meant to compete with smaller, 7-inch tablets from companies like Google and Amazon that are nipping at the tech giant's heals.
"You knew there'd be something called Mini in this presentation," joked vice president of marketing Phil Schiller before revealing the hotly anticipated gadget. Apple has sold 84 million iPads since their debut in April 2010, he said.
"So this iPad mini is just 7.2 mm thick. That's about a quarter thinner than the fourth-generation iPad. Thinner than a pencil," CEO Tim Cook told the crowd earlier. The new product has the same resolution as the larger display 1,024 × 768, but it should look sharper thanks to the smaller screen.
A brief history of the iPad
The 7-inch iPad mini is the kid brother of three full-sized models. Here are Apple's iPad releases since its debut in 2010:
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Apple Unveils iPad Mini
"You can hold it in one hand," he said. It's not just a shrunken down iPad. It's an entirely new design." Yet the new mini will run all of the software designed for the full-size siblings, he said. The mini will start with 16GB of storage at $329; a 4G model will cost an additional $129.
Cook announced an update to the iPad prior to that that he labeled a "fourth-generation" model with updated specifications. But he began the event by touting the company's success in software -- especially the app store.
"We've reached another milestone — customers have downloaded 35 billion apps from the store. This is jaw dropping," Cook said.
It's the iconic hardware that Apple is known for, of course, and the company wasted no time unveiling it. Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for the company, joined Cook on stage to tout the company's victories in that arena, as the pair noted that Macs are the number one desktop and notebook in the country.
To continue that momentum, Schiller revealed a new 13-inch MacBook Pro that he said is 20 percent thinner than the previous generation, and a pound lighter. The new laptop features a 2.5-GHz Intel processor, a high-resolution Retina display with over 4 million pixels, and a solid-state drive rather than a spinning disk. It will start at $1,700, he said.
Schiller also described updates to the company's Mac Mini and iMacs, the later drawing oohs and aahs from the assembled crowd. The new iMac, which starts at $1,299, is a razor-thin all in one computer that starts shipping next month, he said.
"There is an entire computer in here," he said, despite the product's incredibly tiny form.
"We sold more products in the June quarter than any PC manufacturer sold in their entire PC line," Cook said as he returned to the stage.
'7-inch tablets are tweeners ... too small to compete with an iPad.'
- Steve Jobs
Prior to the start of the event -- held at The California Theater in San Jose -- tech pundits batted forth ideas about what the device would look like, based on various leaks and rumors. The talk correctly centered on a 7.85-inch screen , according to various leaks and reports.
The display was predicted to have a resolution of 1,024 × 768, according to a new report by DigiTimes. That means it won’t sport a super high quality Retina display, but will have the same resolution as the iPad 2 (with its 9.7-inch screen).
Price is the next big question, especially since Amazon and Google’s offerings start around $200, about half the price of a new iPad. It’s not Apple’s style to compete on price, however, and the company isn't shy about tacking on a healthy premium.Most analysts expected Apple's newest to come in at either $299 or $349, potentially replacing the aging iPad 2.
The event comes just days before Microsoft starts selling a new version of its Windows operating system, one designed to work on both traditional computers and tablets. Microsoft will also release its own tablet, the Surface, on Friday.
It will be slightly larger than the full-sized iPad.