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Apple’s New iPad Mini Is Pricey but That Won’t Deter Fans: TechCrunch’s John Biggs

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It's officially here: The iPad mini, the subject of endless speculation and rumors over the past year, made its debut Tuesday at the California Theater in San Jose, Calif. The iPad mini starts at $329 and hits store shelves Nov. 2. Pre-sales begin Oct. 26. It boasts a 7.9-inch display, weighs 0.68 pounds and is 7.2mm thick. The design closely resembles the iPod Touch and comes in both black and white.

Related: Get Ready for a Big Week in Tech: Apple & Facebook Earnings, Mini iPad, Windows 8 & More

As is the case with all Apple products, there is an option to pay up for more hardware. Here are the price points:

  • $329 for 16GB
  • $429 for 32GB
  • $529 for 64GB

In mid-November Apple will roll out the Wi-fi and 4G mini for $459 for 16GB, $559 for 32GB, and $659 for 64GB.

The iPad mini screen measures 1,024x768, the same resolution as the iPad 2. It also includes a dual-core A5 processor, a front-facing FaceTime HD camera, Apple's "Lightning" connector and a 5-megapixel back camera. A fully charged iPad mini will get 10 hours of battery life.

Apple (AAPL) stock was trading nearly two percent lower after the iPad mini presentation.

Related: Why Apple's Stock is Dropping

John Biggs, East Coast editor of TechCrunch, says the Apple event lacked the shock and awe of previous product announcements.

"Everybody was expecting an iPad mini and we got an iPad mini," he says in an interview with The Daily Ticker. "To see an iPad mini pop up is no huge surprise."

Biggs says the new mini may be pricey but it would not deter Apple devotees and tech "dorks" from adding to their Apple collections. The smaller screen will attract consumers who use tablet devices for reading -- "it's Apple's e-reader" -- Biggs says, and the new mini is not likely to cut into sales of the larger iPad versions, which still feature bigger screens and a higher resolution display.

The starting price for the iPad mini is $130 more than the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 — Apple's two main competitors in the e-reader space. Most Apple insiders and analysts were expecting a lower entry point for the mini, says CNET's Brian Tong, and consumer sticker shock could drag down sales expectations. The mini's price would have been even higher if Apple made it with a retina display, he adds.

"It will sell well but won't break records," Tong says. "It will sell because it's Apple. Never underestimate the Apple consumer."

Microsoft will unveil its first tablet device, Surface, next week.

Related: Microsoft Launches Its Own Tablet--and Admits Apple Was Right

Biggs says the Surface's size and user-face are more conducive to typing, an important feature for some consumers. The tablet market may be expanding but there's still only one winner, according to Biggs — Apple. "You're getting the premium product," he says.

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