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10 Things We Learned From Apple’s iPad Mini Launch

When Apple boss Tim Cook walked on stage last night, the technology world held its collective breath hoping to see the launch of the much-rumoured iPad mini.

And they weren’t disappointed with Mr Cook using an event in California to reveal the baby brother (or sister) of the iPad as well as offering a slew of new products in the Mac line-up.

So what happened, what did we learn and what’s coming out and when? Here’s our 10 point guide to the iPad mini launch and more…

iPad mini unveiled

The Apple iPad mini fits in one hand. So said Tim Cook and so shows the publicity pictures of a hand, holding the iPad mini within its tight grasp.

With a 7.9inch screen on the diagonal, it’s got more display room than its biggest rival the Google Nexus 7 and other seven inch tablets – 35% more say Apple. But it costs more too, £60 extra for the comparable 16GB device, which is priced at £259 for the iPad mini against £199 for the Nexus 7.

No Retina Display

It is spec’d up to the max. With the same 10 hours of battery life as the iPad, it also has a Multi-Touch display, a front FaceTime HD camera and a 5 megapixel iSight camera that shoots 1080p HD video, iOS 6 software, 275,000 apps designed especially for iPad and the same A5 processing chip that was found in the iPad 2.

It has a slightly new design and is just 7.2mm thin and weighs only 0.68 pounds. But there is no Retina Display as on the current iPad and the new fourth-gen one.

4G from EE on iPad mini

Apple claim the iPad mini has 67% more usable viewing area when browsing the web and while there’s a Wi-Fi-only model, there will also be a cellular version too that can handle both 3G but also 4G connectivity when EE launch the superfast internet service next week.

The Wi-Fi version will be available next Friday, November 2, with pre-orders beginning on October 26. The cellular ones will become available in late November.

A brand-new iPad

The shock of the night was Tim Cook and colleague Phil Schiller announcing the launch of the fourth generation iPad, barely six months after the third version came out.

It now has a faster A6X processor, with double the performance, and crucially will work with EE’s 4G service.

There’s also the FaceTime HD camera and Apple’s new Lightning power connector, first shown off on the iPhone 5 and new range of iPods. It starts at £399 for the 16GB version.

Ultra-thin iMac computers

One of the biggest and most excited gasps of the night came as Apple revealed re-designed iMac machines.

With the disc drive removed, it has allowed its designers to create a machine with an ultra-thin screen – just 5mm at the edge and 40% thinner than the previous versions.

Featuring the latest Intel quad-core i5 or i7 processors, everything inside has been overhauled with a display that reduces reflection by 75% and NVIDIA graphics cards that are 60% faster – along with 8GB of RAM and a massive 1TB hard drive as standard.

You can even specially order machines with 768GB of super fast and reliable flash storage. Prices start at £1099.

A futuristic mix of storage solutions

And talking of storage, Apple is introducing something it dubs the Fusion Drive. A cross between a traditional hard drive and flash storage, it offers 128GB of flash storage with either 1TB or 3TB of traditional hard drive space – all combined into one single storage unit.

So you get the speed of flash and the space of a hard drive, with the machine deciding which files go where for the best performance.

Mac Mini gets a boost

Apple’s Mac mini range was also not forgotten. They now have the latest i5 and i7 processors and 65% faster integrated graphics.

There are also four USB 3.0 ports and Thunderbolt and HDMI. Prices start at £499 for a machine with 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard drive.

Finally a MacBook Pro 13 inch with Retina Display

The other big news of the night, aside from the iPad mini, was the expected unveiling of a 13 inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

Now 20% thinner and a pound lighter than the current generation, they come with flash storage as standard for faster performance. Having the same kind of display as the iPad and iPhone means an intense graphical experience and nearly twice the number of pixels on board than found in an HD TV.

That’s also four times as many as in the former 13 inch MacBook Pro. Prices start at £1449 for a dual-core i5 model with 8GB of memory and 128GB of flash storage.

iBooks and Author are tweaked

In smaller news, Apple updated the iBooks app for iPad with more languages, a sharing option to post passages to Facebook or Twitter and a continuous reading option that scrolls words up and down the page.

Apple has also updated its iBooks Author software which lets anyone create eBooks and textbooks, now offering more designs, fonts, diagrams and video.

Should Android tablets be worried?

The final word has to go to iPad mini. Phil Schiller described it as “thin as a pencil” and as light as “a pad of paper” but can it disrupt the Android seven inch tablet market?

Fred Huet, Managing Director at analysts Greenwich Consulting, said:

“Today’s launch of the iPad mini could prove to be a pivotal moment in disrupting the 7-inch media tablet space, an area that Android vendors have largely operated in alone, up until this point. The iPad mini is a clear warning shot to all competitors that the world’s most valuable company is not willing to share any of its 70% market share in the tablet industry, at least not without a strong fight.”

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