I have a question for you: What’s thinner than a pencil, weighs as much as a pad of paper, but has Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) execs sweating?
The iPad Mini, which was unveiled by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) on Tuesday.
At a special event in San Jose, CEO Tim Cook and Senior VP Phil Schiller had plenty to say about the smaller tablet:
- The starting price will be $329 a pop, cheaper than the traditional iPad ($499), but pricier than 7″ tablets Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 ($199).
- Screen size is 7.9″, meaning that it has 35% more screen space than the Nexus 7.
- Specs-wise, it compares to the iPad 2, carrying the same dual-core A5 processor.
- The iPad Mini comes with a 5 MP camera on the back—something that the other two mini tablets can’t claim.
- All 275 million iPad applications will work on the iPad mini—while most competitors run on mobile phone apps that have been “stretched out,” in Schiller’s words.
So far, the tech community has been pretty supportive of the new launch, so we’ll likely see more record-breaking sales when pre-orders open this Friday, October 26. If the iPad Mini is a success, Apple could very well shatter its previous record of selling 15.4 million iPads during last year’s holiday quarter.
But unlike past events, the iPad Mini didn’t steal the entire show; believe it or not, Apple had even more new products up its sleeve:
- Rumors of a 13-inch MacBook Pro with retina display came true. Weighing only 3.57 pounds, this model will ship out today for $1,699. Despite the smaller size, the MacBook Pro comes fully equipped with two USB posts, HD camera, dual mics and even nicer stereo speakers than the older generation.
- Apple also revealed a new iMac desktop computer, which is 80% thinner than the earlier version and boasts a 75% less reflective screen. Naturally, the computer runs on the newest Mountain Lion operating system, so the computer is fully integrated with the latest Apple products. The iMac starts at $1,299 and ships in November.
- Perhaps the most shocking news is that Apple already has a 4th generation iPad ready. The iPad 4 is equipped with an A6X processor with twice the graphics performance of the last model as well as hardware that doubles the Wi-Fi connection speed. The new tablet will also run on Sprint’s (NYSE:S) LTE network for the first time. The 16 GB version starts at $499, with pre-orders also starting this Friday.
This unprecedented amount of activity from Apple has competitors scrambling to catch up. In a bid to drum up interest for this Friday’s launch of Windows 8, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is hosting a party in New York on Thursday. And following its earnings debacle, Google has its own reveal event on October 29 — where it will most likely showcase a new Nexus device.
Personally, I think these players will need more than that to go toe-to-toe with Apple. After Thursday’s closing bell, Apple is due to release its third-quarter operating results and it’s bound to be just as exciting as today. Currently, the analyst community calls for 28% sales growth and 25.4% earnings growth. If this earnings report ends up being a market mover, you’ll see all the details in this blog on Friday.