iPad Mini arrives, with a fourth-generation iPad to boot

Apple today took the wraps off a pair of tablets: the iPad Mini and a fourth-generation iPad. The iPad Mini was not a surprise. But the new full-sized iPad sure was.

The iPad Mini.

As expected, Apple today introduced a slimmed-down tablet called the iPad Mini. 

The device will weigh a feathery 0.68 pounds, and ship with a 7.9-inch display – significantly smaller than the 9.7-inch screen on the current model iPad. The thickness of the device, meanwhile, is just 7.2 millimeters, or approximately 0.28 inches. Thin, in other words.

Apple design guru Jony Ive stressed that the device was not simply a shrunken replica of the full-sized iPad. 

"We took the time to create a product that was a concentration of, but not a reduction of, the original product," Ive said

The iPad Mini is set to arrive on Nov. 2, putting it head to head against 7-inch competitors such as the Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7. Pricing will start at $329 for a 16GB, Wi-Fi only model – an LTE version, Gizmodo is reporting, is expected to go for $140 more. 

In addition, Apple used the press conference to introduce the fourth generation iPad, a development that almost no one saw coming. The new iPad – Apple has stopped giving its tablets numerical designations – will look the same as the old iPad: same 9.7-inch Retina Display, same dimensions. Same price points, too.

But unlike the third-generation iPad, which was released just six months ago, the latest device will get the small Lightning connector and an A6X processor. As Don Reisinger of CNET notes, that's "double the current CPU and graphics power of the A5X available in the third-generation [iPad]."

No word yet on availability, but the device should launch within the next couple of weeks. 

Thinking about picking up an iPad Mini or a fourth generation iPad? Drop us a line in the comments section. And for more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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