You’ve been hearing the rumors but it’s now officially true. There is now a Kindle Fire and Nook competitor from Apple. The iPad Mini. We’re not fortunate enough to be at the event, but we can report what we’ve been seeing from those who are. The iPad Mini will slip between the iPod Touch and the New (Full Size, 9.7″) iPad, both on size and price. It comes with a 7.9-inch LCD with a resolution of 1024×768. For those paying attention that works out to be the exact same resolution as the iPad 2 — that means NO extra work required from the developers. If you listen closely you might be able to hear them all give a collective sigh of relief. The body is rounded and flat on the back and looks much like a larger version of the new iPod Touch. As expected, it receives the new Lightning port for charging and syncing and though many may be annoyed by that, as an iPhone 5 owner, I’m ok with it. The new lightning connector feels much better than the old connection when you plug it in, we just need third-party manufacturers to offer us some lower priced cables and new accessories. The processor is also borrowed from the iPad 2, making it a good bargain for apple and it surely helps keep costs down and profits up. I still often recommend a refurbished iPad 2 to friends and family who may not need the retina display, as the A5 processor is still quite capable of performing most tasks without noticing a huge power difference. Really the iPad mini is a shrunk down iPad 2, which isn’t a bad thing. The iPad 2 is/was a great product and making a smaller/cheaper version will hit the sweet spot for many folks. So how much does it cost then? Well it starts at $329 for the 16GB WiFi version and increases by $100 for each storage size increase up to $529. Want 4G LTE? That’ll be an extra $130 tacked on.
But that’s not all that Apple updated today. The big daddy, 9.7 new (newer?) iPad got an update too! So far the only updates that I notice are the new A6x processor borrowed from the iPhone 5 as well as the new Lightning port. I can attest that the A6x is quite the processor but if you already own the new iPad I can hardly recommend the upgrade but if you still have an original iPad, iPad 2 or even no iPad at all, it’s sure to be a great new powerful toy with prices matching the past iPads, starting at $499.