San Jose, California: Apple unveiled its much-anticipated iPad mini, along with revamped laptop and desktop computers, taking on Amazon and Google in the market for smaller tablets that can be held in one hand. The new 7.9-inch screen iPad mini starts at $329 (base model).
CEO Tim Cook kicked off Tuesday’s event, held at the opulent California Theater in San Jose, by touting the just launched iPhone 5 as the fastest-selling Smartphone in history. He added that there are now 200 millions devices running iOS6, the fastest upgrade rate he has seen since the mobile software was launched about a month ago.
Amazon’s Kindle and Google’s Nexus 7 have grabbed a chunk of the lower end of the tablet market and proved demand for a pocket-sized slate exists. That has forced Apple into a space it has avoided and at times derided, analysts say.
A smaller tablet would mark the first device to be added Apple’s compact portfolio under cook, who took over from co-founder Steve Jobs just before his death.
“Apple sensed early that they had a real winner with the iPad and that has proven to be correct,” said Lars Albright, cofounder of mobile advertising startup Sessions and a former Apple ad executive. “They have a large market share, and to protect that market share they have got to be innovative,” he said.
In a rarity for a company that tightly controls events. Apple live streamed its invitation only presented-where it is expected to unveil the mini tablet-to Apple device such as the iPad and Macintosh computers wall street analysts have said for months that Apple was planning a less expensive version of the iPad to take on cheaper competing devices, a move they say might hurt its margins, but prevent its rivals from dominating an increasingly important segment.