Apple Unveils a Mightier iPad Mini


Apple on Tuesday unveiled its second-generation iPad mini, the successor to the diminutive tablet it debuted at about this time last October. And the device is largely as we said a few weeks back it would be.

Uncrated at what’s likely to be Apple’s final event of the year, the new mini is similar in design to its predecessor, but with some major improvements. It features a new Retina display, bringing it into parity with its larger sibling – and near parity with other new smaller tablets, like Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX, which boasts a 323 pixels-per-square-inch screen. And, as I reported in early October, it does indeed run Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip, a beast of a mobile processor that Apple touts as “desktop class.”

Talking up the A7 onstage at today’s event, SVP Phil Schiller described the iPads that run it as “screaming fast.” Which is not as hyperbolic a statement as it might sound. The A7 gives the new mini a CPU that’s four times as fast as its predecessor, and that improves its graphics by a factor of eight. It’s a massive improvement. Note that the mini in going A7 has bypassed the A6, skipping an entire processor generation.

Apple plans to ship the new iPad mini “later in November.” The device will be available in silver and “space gray” at a starting price of $399 and it will top out $829 for a Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB model.

The company is keeping the older mini around as an entry-level device, and is dropping its price to $299. New covers are coming too – a standard version for $39 and a leather version at $79.


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