Apple debuted its new iPad Mini early this morning, with the pencil-thin tablet set to cost more than its competitors.
The iPad Mini will be half the weight of the original model with a screen two-thirds smaller. Apple has put a $369 and up price tag on the iPad Mini, dramatically higher than the Kindle Fire, the iPad Mini’s closest competitor, which retails for US$159.
"Apple had an opportunity to step on the throat of Amazon and Google yet decided to rely on its brand and focus on margin," said Bill Kreher, an analyst with brokerage Edward Jones.
Customers can begin ordering the iPad Mini from Friday with Wi-Fi only models to be released from November 2. Apple will later add models capable of accessing 4G in Australia.
"It's not just a shrunken-down iPad, it's an entirely new design," said Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller at the launch in California.
The iPad Mini is as thin as a pencil and weighs 308 grams, half as much as the full-size iPad with its 9.7-inch screen, Schiller said.
The company also announced an upgrade for the full size iPad, only six months after the latest model was released.
The fourth-generation iPad will have a better camera and work on more 4G mobile data networks around the world, including on Telstra, Optus and Virgin's networks in Australia. Apple is also replacing the 30-pin dock connector with the new, smaller "Lightning" connector introduced with the iPhone 5 a month ago.