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Apple reveals iPad Air at 16 ounces, iPad mini at $399

Both have new A7 chip, M7 co-processor, and Retina displays

By , Network World
October 22, 2013 05:36 PM ET
apple ipad air

Network World - Missing from the new tablets are features that were widely rumored, such as the integrated Touch ID fingerprint scanner, an eight- instead of five-megapixel main camera, and an anodized gold color scheme (Apple opted for “space grey” to replace the darker slate choice). The new iPad Air goes on sale Nov. 1; the new 7.9-inch iPad mini with Retina display will be available “later in November,” according to Apple.

[FIRST LOOK: iPad Air & More]

The new tablets create a family of products with starting prices ranging from $299 to $499, for the 16-Gbyte models. Prices go up as you increase storage or add the $130 cellular option. The original year-old iPad mini and the two-and-half-year-old iPad 2 are now the lower-priced products – with non-Retina screens and the two-generations old A5 processor. Here are your starting price options:

7.9-inch screen:

The original iPad mini            new iPad mini with Retina display

$299                                    $399


9.7-inch screen:

iPad 2                                      new iPad Air

$399                                        $499


The price change for the iPad mini is already sparking widely divergent opinions at online forums.

“Too expensive IMO,” posted ifrancis04, at a MacRumors forum thread dedicated to the new pricing.

“That was a dumb move to put it at 399 with the only justification being retina,” agreed BigB82. “and only dropping price of regular mini 30 bucks was dumb should have dropped it more, you can already get it for 299 at target most weekends.”

But others found the pricing both sensible and affordable. “Insanely affordable given it has the full power of the iPad Air in a gorgeous iPad Mini retina display,” wrote dumastudetto. “I think it's amazing what Apple has achieved today. They've basically destroyed all their competitors with devices nobody else could ever make.”

“Considering they have pretty much the same parts. It is rather well priced,” said Xerotech.

“…[I]t's basically the [new iPad] Air in a smaller package (vs. the original mini, which had a weaker screen and weaker processing power),” agreed Prototypical. “Not a bad deal, especially if you just want the smaller size.”

Both new iPads are fitted with the 64-bit A7 processor that Apple unveiled in its iPhone 5S. According to Apple, the new iPad Air has two times faster CPU performance compared to the A6X-powered fourth-generation iPad, and two times faster graphics performance. For the new Retina iPad mini, the gains over the A5-powered original mini are even greater: four times faster CPU performance, and eight times faster graphics performance.

In addition, both gain the M7 motion co-processor, again unveiled in the iPhone 5S. The M7 offloads from the main CPU the work of tracking data from the iPad’s various sensors -- accelerometer, gyroscope and magnometer.

Both support the same resolution: 2048 x 1536 pixels. The pixel density is greater on the smaller screen of the new iPad mini: 326 pixels per inch, compared to 264 for the iPad Air.

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