by Michael Liedtke and Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writers
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Apple Inc. on Tuesday revealed a smaller version of its hit iPad tablet computer that will start at $329 and comes with a screen that’s about two-thirds the size of the full-size model.
Apple starts taking orders for the new model on Friday Oct. 26 and will ship the Wi-Fi-only models on Nov. 2, said marketing chief Phil Schiller at an event in San Jose, Calif. Later, the company will add models capable of accessing “LTE” wireless data networks.
The iPad mini weighs 0.68 pounds, half as much as the full-size iPad, and is as thin as a pencil, Schiller said.
The screen resolution is 1024 by 768 pixels, the same as the iPad 2 and a quarter of the resolution of the third-generation iPad.
“It’s not just a shrunken down iPad, it’s an entirely new design,” Schiller said.
Company watchers have for a year been expecting the company to release a smaller iPad to counter cheaper tablets like Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire. However, most were expecting it to cost between $250 and $300. At $329, it’s twice the price of the basic Kindle Fire.
In a surprise, Apple also said it’s upgrading its full-size iPad tablet just six months after launching a new model, doubling the speed of the processor. Previously, the company has updated the iPad once a year.
The fourth-generation iPad will have a better camera and work on more “LTE” wireless data networks around the world. Apple is also replacing the 30-pin dock connector with the new, smaller “Lightning” connector introduced with the iPhone 5 a month ago.
The price of the new full-size model stays the same as the previous version, starting at $499 for a Wi-Fi-only version with 16 gigabytes of memory.