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Apple debuts iPad mini along with 4th generation tablet

by Brad Spirrison

En route to unveiling the world’s worst kept secret in the iPad mini, Apple today debuted more than just a refresh of the classic 9.7-inch tablet. Hello 4th generation iPad.

The iPad mini, which surprisingly will arrive connected to the LTE network, will be priced starting at $329 for a 16GB WiFi-only model. The iPad mini and the 4th generation iPad will be available for pre-order on Friday, October 16. Both devices will ship and hit stores on November 2.

The iPad mini comes with a 7.9-inch screen and 1024 X 768 resolution (which is comparable to earlier edition iPad models). The iPad mini also will include an Apple A5 processor, 10 hours of battery, and a new Lightning connector.

As Apple’s Phil Schiller boasts: “it is every inch an iPad”.

The bigger, more controversial, surprise has to do with the significantly-enhanced iPad. While many of us were expecting a refresh of the iPad with a new Lightning connector and improved “internals,” the improved A6X chip as well as new features like HD Facetime make the third generation model - launched earlier this year - basically obsolete.

As we await the iPad mini to roll out in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see what types of apps perform the best on the new device. While the 4:3 aspect ratio and 1024 X 768 resolution will make it possible for literally any existing iPad app to be downloaded to the more diminutive device, a new version of iBooks could unveil a new generation of education apps.