|The iPad mini|
COURTESY OF APPLE
Somebody at Apple must be off his meds, because the company has swung waaaay into manic territory. Last week the Cupertino, California-based firm held its second major product announcement in as many months, unveiling not only the long-rumored iPad mini, but also a 13-inch MacBook Pro and a new iMac (which Techeye may cover at a later date).
The biggest surprise, though, was the announcement of a fourth-generation iPad. With this Apple has effectively outmoded the third-generation new iPad just seven months after its release. Well, as the Romans used to say, caveat earlius adoptorus.
Anyway, let's start with the iPad mini. This is Apple's first foray into the smaller-tablet market and its opening salvo against companies like Google (with its Nexus 7), Amazon (the Kindle Fire HD) and Barnes & Noble (the Nook HD) which have seen success in the seven-inch niche. Strictly speaking, the iPad mini has a 7.9-inch display, a bit bigger than its main competitors (exceeding even Samsung’s 7.7-inch Galaxy Tab). This may be a posthumous concession to Steve Jobs, who in 2010 derided seven-inch tablets as “too small” and “dead on arrival.”
The iPad mini has a 5MP rear-facing camera, a somewhat unusual feature in this size class, as well as a “FaceTime HD” front-facing camera. Apple's newish Lightning connector is also present, as is dual-band Wi-Fi capability.
At 7.2 mm thin and weighing only 308g, the iPad mini is considerably svelter than its competitors. But it's a bit early to judge its performance against that of its peers, particularly the Nexus 7, which has a fairly impressive quad-core processor. Indeed, by the time you read this Google may have already upped the ante – last week rumor had it that firm planned to unveil a 10-inch “Nexus 10” tablet this Monday.
|The 4th-gen iPad|
COURTESY OF APPLE
The 4th-gen iPad, meanwhile, packs a quad-core A6X CPU which, Apple claims, will double the performance of last March's new iPad. The 9.7-inch Retina display appears unchanged from its predecessor's and the physical dimensions are the same, but dual-band Wi-Fi, improved 4G compatibility and a 720p front-facing FaceTime camera have been added. There's also a Lightning connector which you’re getting whether you like it or not, as Apple isn't shy about saying.
Like the mini, the 4th-gen iPad hits stores this week. The starting price points will be the same as its venerable ancestor, the new iPad: $499 (16GB, WiFi-only) or $629 (16GB, 4G).
So there you have it, new shinies from Apple, just in time to give buyers of the 3rd-gen iPad a serious case of buyer's remorse. If the company keeps up this pace – and the serfs at Foxconn's Chinese manufacturing facilities don't suffer a mass case of repetitive strain injury in the meantime – we may see the iPad mini 2 and the 5th-gen iPad before the New Year.
Ever bought a new gadget that suddenly became an old gadget? Let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
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