SAN JOSE, Calif. — Apple Inc. is refusing to stoop to the level of its rivals in the tablet market – it's pricing its new, smaller iPad well above the competition.
On Tuesday, the company revealed the iPad Mini, with a screen that's about two-thirds the size of the full-size model, and said it will cost $329 and up.
Apple starts taking orders for the new model on Friday, said marketing chief Phil Schiller at an event in San Jose, Calif. Wi-Fi-only models on Nov. 2. Later, the company will add models capable of accessing LTE wireless data networks.
The price fits into the Apple product lineup between the iPad 2 at $399 and the latest version of the iPod touch at $299. But company watchers had been expecting Apple to price the iPad Mini at $250 to $300 to counter the threat of less expensive tablets like Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle Fire, which starts at $159. Google Inc. sells its Nexus 7 tablet for $199 and up.
The iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and weighs 0.68 pounds, half as much as the full-size iPad with its 9.7-inch screen, Schiller said.
Company watchers have been expecting the iPad Mini for a year, and most of the details, except the price, had leaked out. More surprisingly, Apple also said it's upgrading its full-size iPad tablet just six months after launching a new model, doubling the speed of the processor.
The fourth-generation iPad will have a better camera and work on more LTE wireless data networks around the world. Apple is also replacing the 30-pin dock connector with the new, smaller Lightning connector introduced with the iPhone 5 a month ago.
The price of the new full-size model stays the same as the previous version, starting at $499 for a Wi-Fi-only version with 16 gigabytes of memory.