The mini, which offers customers a 7.9-inch screen and is just 7.2mm thick, will sell for $329 if you want the Wi-Fi-only version; you'll pay $459 for the same storage if you want to be able to connect to cellular networks. Prices go up for additional storage.
Those prices are considerably higher than comparable rivals in this category – the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD – which sell for $249 and $199, respectively. But that's not enough of a difference for a world that's in love with Apple products, noted Yankee Group research VP Carl Howe.
"Apple’s new iPad mini takes direct aim at [the 7-inch tablet] market, which heretofore had managed to [eke] out a living underneath the U.S.$499 iPad price umbrella," wrote Howe, commenting on a Fox News story. "That umbrella is a lot smaller now that Apple has a 7.8-inch iPad mini priced at U.S.$329. If you are Amazon or Google, the message ‘our tablet is more affordable,’ just got a lot weaker."
Apple announced other products at Tuesday's event, including a handful of new personal computers, but it's the tablet competition that will be staying up at night, Howe added.
“ ... the real heartburn will come to tablet vendors such as Amazon, Acer, Google and even Microsoft, which no longer can rely on their low tablet prices to differentiate them. It’s no longer enough to be cheaper than an iPad in tablets; you now have to be cheaper and better, or consumers will go with the safe choice: Apple."
Pre-orders for the iPad mini start Friday. It'll be available in stores, alongside a new and improved, fourth-generation (large-screen) iPad on Nov. 2.