Apple unveils iPad Mini at October 23 announcement

The new iPad mini is projected on a screen during an Apple event in San Jose.Two weeks ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the company had sold its 100 millionth iPad. Today, the tech giant is hoping to snap up even more of that market share with its highly-anticipated iPad Mini.

The announcement came at the same time as the fourth-generation iPad, also announced today (probably much to the chagrin of those who bought the new iPad when it was unveiled just six months ago).

The 7.2 mm iPad Mini weighs only 0.68 lbs, which makes it 53% lighter than the fourth generation iPad. The screen measures 7.9 inches, larger than many of the competing small-form tablets like the Nexus 7 (as Schiller enjoyed explaining at length in his presentation).

In an extensive side-by-side comparison with the Google Nexus 7, Phil Schiller explained how there was 49% more viewable area when navigating web pages, as well as a host of other reasons why the iPad Mini was superior. If you're a budget shopper, that might not make enough of a difference: while Apple was announcing the iPad Mini, Google chose today to announce the price drop of its Nexus 7 16GB model to $199 — a tough move for Apple to fight against when the iPad Mini starts at $329 for the same size hard drive.

[ PHOTOS: iPad Mini unveiled by Apple ]

The iPad Mini will be available in two versions, a Wi-Fi only and a cellular-enabled one, which will be supported in Canada on many of the major networks like Bell, Rogers, Telus and Koodo, with LTE speeds where available. The Wi-Fi versions will be shipping first, with pre-orders beginning on October 26. Sales of the cellular versions will take place two weeks later.

Great attention has been paid to the shape of the iPad Mini, at least according to Jony Ive, design guru at Apple. He explained in a video that the thinner bezel of the edge has been designed to allow for one-handed maneuverability (note: I'm guessing Apple isn't addressing the needs of those with tiny girly hands, like me) and comfortable holding, allowing you to use your free hand to navigate the screen.

[ Related: Apple debuts 13-inch MacBook Pro ahead of iPad Mini ]

CNET reports that the new iPad Mini will have 10 hours of battery life (at least, so says Apple), a front-facing FaceTime HD camera, rear-facing 5-megapixel iSight camera and a dual-core A5 processor.

Here's how the iPad Mini pricing breaks down: for the Wi-Fi version, it'll run you $329 for 16GB, $429 for 32 GB or $529 for 64GB. To have a cellular model, the prices jump to $459, $559, and $659 respectively. All prices are in U.S. dollars. If you don't want to pre-order the device on October 26, you can start preparing now to fight the crowds when the Wi-Fi model goes on sale in stores on November 2.

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