SAN JOSE, Calif. (MCT) — Apple Inc. gave fans the mini-moment they had been waiting for Tuesday by introducing a smaller iPad to the world, but the company surprised the technology community by also updating the standard iPad with a fourth-generation iteration just seven months after its last update.
The smaller device will officially be called the iPad Mini and cost $329 and up, pricey when compared with popular 7-inch tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, which start at $199. The iPad Mini will have a screen slightly smaller than 8 inches — the original iPad has a screen just under 10 inches — while having the same resolution of the larger version.
The updated larger iPad was a surprise because Apple usually waits at least a year to introduce new iterations of popular consumer devices, and the third-generation iPad was launched in March. The new full-size iPad will double the speed of its Wi-Fi connection and receive the new Lightning connector, the smaller connection introduced on the iPhone 5 last month, Apple marketing guru Phil Schiller announced slightly less than an hour into Tuesday's event.
Apple will continue to offer the iPad 2 and the iPad introduced Tuesday, effectively killing the third-generation iPad introduced just last spring.
After introducing the fourth-generation iPad to the audience, Schiller turned his attention to the iPad Mini, using Google's Nexus 7 tablet as a comparison. Schiller pointed out that the 7-inch tablet produced by the Mountain View, Calif., search giant is heavier and thicker than the iPad Mini, but still has a smaller display.
Schiller also said that all 275,000 iPad applications will work on the new, smaller iPad, while the Nexus 7 tablet that runs on Google's Android operating system offers "phone applications (that have been) stretched out."