Apple’s iPad Mini is much pricier than rival tablets


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The iPad Mini, at left, is shown next to the 4th Generation iPad in San Jose, Calif. On Tuesday, Apple Inc. revealed the iPad Mini, with a screen that’s about two-thirds the size of the full-size model, and said it will cost $329 and up.

Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Apple Inc.’s pencil-thin, smaller iPad will cost much more than its competitors, signaling the company isn’t going to get into a minitablet price war.

The company debuted the iPad Mini on Tuesday with a screen two-thirds smaller than the full model and half the weight. Customers can begin ordering the new model Friday. In a surprise, Apple also revamped its flagship, full-sized iPad just six months after the launch of the latest model.

Apple’s late founder, Steve Jobs, once ridiculed a small tablet from a competitor as a “tweener” that was too big and too small to compete with either smartphones or tablets. Now Apple’s own Mini enters a growing small-tablet market dominated by Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire.

Apple is charging $329 and up for the Mini — a price that fits into the Apple product lineup between the latest iPod Touch ($299) and the iPad 2 ($399). Company watchers had been expecting Apple to price the iPad Mini at $250 to $300 to compete with the Kindle Fire, which starts at $159. Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook HD and Google Inc.’s Nexus 7 both start at $199.

“Apple had an opportunity to step on the throat of Amazon and and Google, yet decided to rely on its brand and focus on margin,” said Bill Kreher, an analyst with brokerage Edward Jones.

Apple has sold more than 100 million iPads since April 2010. Analysts expect Apple to sell 5 million to 10 million iPad minis before the year is out.

Apple shares fell $20.67, or 3.3 percent, to $613.36 when the price was announced. Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc. jumped 88 cents, or 6.1 percent, to $15.32. Shares of Amazon.com Inc. rose 53 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $234.31.

Apple will start taking orders for the new model Friday, said marketing chief Phil Schiller in San Jose. Wi-Fi-only models will ship Nov. 2. Later, the company will add models capable of accessing “LTE” wireless data networks.

The screen of the iPad Mini is 7.9 inches on the diagonal, making it larger than the 7-inch screens of competitors. It sports two cameras, one on the front and one on the back, which the competitors don’t.

The iPad Mini is pencil-thin and weighs 0.68 pounds. The screen resolution is 1024 by 768 pixels, the same as the iPad 2.

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