Tablets Guide

Apple Unveils 7.9-inch iPad Mini and Fourth-Gen iPad

Apple Unveils 7.9-inch iPad Mini and Fourth-Gen iPad


Two New iPads

Apple Enters the 7-inch Tablet Space 

More than two years after the introduction of the first generation iPad, Apple finally made its move into the 7-inch territory and unveiled the iPad Mini. Referred by analyst Shaw Wu as " the competition's worst nightmare", how does Apple strike back at its competitors who had at least a year head start in manufacturing 7-inch tablets?

 

  Key highlights of the Apple iPad Mini

  • Apple iOS 6
  • Apple A5 dual-core 1GHz processor
  • 7.9-inch LED-backlit IPS / 1024 x 768 pixels
  • 5-megapixel iSight rear camera 
  • FaceTime HD front facing camera
  • 16/32/64GB
  • Lightning connector
  • Nano-SIM for Wi-Fi + Cellular model
  • 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm
  • 308g (Wi-Fi), 312g (Wi-Fi + Cellular)
     
  • Availability and price: 

    Wi-Fi: S$448 (16GB), S$578 (32GB), S$708 (64GB)

    Wi-Fi + Cellular: S$618 (16GB), S$748 (32GB), S$878 (64GB)

    Pre-orders start on Friday, 26th Oct, Wi-Fi versions shipping 2nd Nov,
    Wi-Fi + Cellular a couple of weeks after.

First and foremost, the Apple iPad Mini sports a 7.9-inch LED-backlit IPS display, which has the same screen resolution (1024 x 768 pixels) as the first and second-gen iPads. The pixel density is slightly lower than its immediate competitors such as the Google Nexus 7 (216ppi), Amazon Kindle Fire HD (216ppi) and, Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 (196ppi) and Toshiba Regza AT270 (196ppi). Both the Tab 7.7 and the Regza AT270 tablets are closer contenders since they've both got 7.7-inch screen sizes.

Nonetheless, Apple claims that the iPad Mini offers 35% more screen real estate than 7-inch tablets and up to 67% more usable viewing area when browsing the Internet. This is mostly the result of the 4:3 screen aspect ratio on the iPad Mini than the 16:10 widescreens adopted by the competition. As a results, the iPad Mini positions itself as the better device for consumers to read emails, surf the Internet and manage their photo albums on the go. This is also the reason why the LG Optimus Vu smartphone is designed with this aspect ratio in mind and is the only such premium smartphone at the moment. It won't be long before we find out what do consumers prefer in terms of screen aspect ratio.

In addition, Apple has its strong ecosystem of over 250,000 tablet-optimized apps to support its range of iPad models, which is a strategic advantage that Apple has over the competition. This will translate to a better user experience on the iPad Mini compared to scaled-up phone apps on competing platforms.

Another key highlight of the iPad Mini is its design. Encased in an aluminum and glass chassis, the iPad Mini measures just 7.2mm thin and weighs 308g (Wi-Fi).  Having said that, Apple easily claims the title of making the thinnest and lightest tablet in the world. Compared to the third gen iPad, the iPad Mini is 23% thinner and 53% lighter. The iPad Mini also houses the new Lightning connector at the bottom of the device.

Running the show on the iPad Mini is the Apple A5 dual-core processor, the same chipset that is found on the iPad 2. Judging from the Geekbench 2 results of the third-gen iPad (A5X) and iPad 2, there was only marginal improvements. Therefore, we think that the iPad Mini is capable of holding its own against the quad-core Google Nexus 7, and its performance should be top-notch too.

When it comes to imaging capability, the iPad Mini is a force to be reckoned with as it is equipped with the same five-element lens which are found on the iPhone 4S. While the iPad Mini has a lower 5-megapixel camera sensor, its f/2.4 aperture should ensure that the tablet is able to capture good images under low-light conditions. The camera comes with a familiar suite of features such as autofocus, face detection, hybrid IR filter and backside illumination.

In terms of connectivity, the iPad Mini fares better than the third generation iPad as it features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for speeds up to 150Mbps, which is twice the Wi-Fi performance of previous iPads. More importantly, the iPad Mini comes in a 4G LTE version that is supported by all three telcos in Singapore. 

New polyurethane Smart Covers will be custom-designed for the iPad minis, and are available in pink, green, blue, light gray, dark gray and (PRODUCT) RED for US$39.

The Apple iPad Mini will come in two color variants: Black & Slate, and White & Silver. Pre-orders for the devices will start on Friday, 26th October through Apple Online Store in the U.S, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

The Wi-Fi models will be available first on Friday, 2nd November for a recommended retail price of US$329 (16GB), US$429 (32GB) and US$529 (64GB). Apple will only ship the Wi-Fi + Cellular models a couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi variants for a retail price of US$459 (16GB), US$559 (32GB) and US$659 (64GB). If you are planning to get the cellular model, do take note that a nano-SIM card is required.

In the meantime, let's see how the Apple iPad Mini fares against the Android tablets: - 

Specifications Apple iPad Mini Google Nexus 7 Amazon Kindle Fire Toshiba REGZA Tablet AT270
Operating System
  • iOS 6
  • Android 4.1
  • Google Android 4.0.3
  • Android 4.0.3
Processor
  • Apple A5 dual-core 1GHz
  • NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core 1.2GHz
  • TI OMAP4460 dual-core 1.2GHz
  • NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core 1.2GHz
Built-in Memory
  • TBC
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
  • 1GB RAM
Display
  • 7.9-inch LED-backlit IPS / 1024 x 768 pixels / 163 ppi
  • 7-inch back-lit IPS / 1280 x 800 pixels / 216ppi
  • 7-inch IPS LCD / 1280 x 800 pixels / 216ppi
  • 7.7-inch AMOLED / 1280 x 800 pixels / 196ppi
Camera
  • 5-megapixel iSight rear
  • FaceTime HD camera  
  • 1.2-megapixel front camera
  • HD camera front-facing
  • 5-megapixel rear autofocus 
  • 2-megapixel front facing
Battery
  • 16.3Wh battery for up to 10 hours of usage
  • 4325mAh
  • 4440mAh
  • 3940mAh
Storage
  • 16/32/64GB
  • 8GB/16GB
  • 16GB/32GB
  • 32GB
  • microSD support up to128GB
Dimensions
  • 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm
  • 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm
  • 193 x 137 x 10.3mm
  • 204.5 x 135.2 x 7.85mm
Weight
  • 308g (Wi-Fi)
     
  • 312g (Wi-Fi + Celluar)
  • 340g
  • 395g
  • 350g
Price
  • Wi-Fi:

    S$448 (16GB), S$578 (32GB) S$708 (64GB)
     
  • Wi-Fi + Cellular:

    S$618 (16GB), S$748 (32GB), S$878 (64GB
  • US$199 (8GB)
     
  • US$249 / S$399 (16GB)
  • US$199 (16GB)
     
  • US$249 (32GB)
  • S$899 (Wi-Fi + 3G)

 

Fourth Generation iPad 

 

We were expecting an upgraded version of the third-gen iPad but little did we know that Apple had plans to launch the fourth-gen iPad. This is quite an oddball considering that it was about 7 months ago since the company unveiled the third-gen iPad.

The fourth-gen iPad comes with an upgraded processor, known as the Apple A6X which promises to deliver twice the CPU and GPU capabilities of the A5X chip without sacrificing on battery mileage. Apple claims that the fourth-gen iPad is able to last up to 10 hours.

Not surprisingly, the newly announced iPad also sports the Lightning connector, which first debut on the iPhone 5. Apple states that Lightning connector accessories are available to support cameras, SD cards and VGA or HDMI digital video.

It also comes in a 4G model that has expanded 4G LTE support for more countries including Singapore. Other minor upgrades are the new FaceTime HD camera and faster Wi-Fi performance.

Pre-orders for the devices will start on Friday, 26th October through Apple Online Store in the U.S, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

The fourth generation iPad with Wi-Fi models will also be available on Friday, 2nd November, in black or white for a suggested retail price of S$658 for the 16GB model, S$788 for the 32GB model and S$918 for the 64GB model.

The Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be priced at S$828 (16GB), S$958 (32GB), S$1,088 (64GB), and will start shipping a couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi models. Unlike the iPad Mini, the ceullar model of the fourth-gen iPad utilizes a micro SIM card.

Fortunately or unfortunately, it seems that the third-gen iPad is removed from the Apple Online Store although the iPad 2 is still retailing for S$528 (16GB Wi-Fi) and S$698 (16GB Wi-Fi + 3G).