Apple Unveils iPad Mini To Compete With Tablets

Apple has unveiled an iPad Mini that's designed to compete with small tablets from Google and Amazon. The device has a nearly 8 inch screen and weighs half as much as the larger iPad. The device will start at $329 and be available on Nov. 2. Similar devices that are currently on the market include Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A positive message today from Apple executives in Silicon Valley. They took to a stage to introduce a new slate of product that will ship in time for the holiday season. The main attraction, as expected, was a smaller tablet called the iPad mini. NPR's technology correspondent Steve Henn was at the event.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Apple showed off a new iMac that's dramatically thinner than the previous version. It added a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with its so-called retina display to its lineup of laptops. But the gadget generating the most buzz was the iPad. Apple's CEO Tim Cook took a moment before unveiling the newest version to boast about its success.

TIM COOK: I'm thrilled to tell you that two weeks ago, we sold our 100 millionth iPad.

(APPLAUSE)

HENN: Bu before Apple unveiled its new, smaller tablet, first, it offered a bit of a surprise: a fourth generation of full-size iPads, featuring new, faster chips. Here's Apple's marketing chief, Phil Schiller.

PHIL SCHILLER: We were already so far ahead of the competition. This just - I can't even see them in the rearview mirror.

(LAUGHTER)

HENN: The audience at San Jose's historic California Theatre lapped it up. But the true Apple fans were here for one thing: an iPad small enough to fit snugly inside a Christmas stocking.

(APPLAUSE)

SCHILLER: I think we can tell by your excitement you know what this is.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHILLER: This is iPad mini.

SARAH ROTMAN EPPS: I have held the mini. It is small and it is light.

HENN: Sarah Rotman Epps covers consumer technology for Forrester Research.

EPPS: And when you compare it to competitors...

HENN: Like Google's Nexus 7 tablet or Amazon's Kindle Fire HD.

EPPS: All of those devices are actually slightly heavier than the iPad mini even though they have smaller screens.

HENN: The iPad mini starts at $329. Those others sell for much less. And Microsoft's joining the tablet fray too. It's shipping its own full-sized surface tablet later this week. While Rotman Epps says the iPad mini and Apple's other new gadgets aren't really game changers, that's mostly because Apple was already leading. Steve Henn, NPR News, Silicon Valley.

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