My favorite review of the iPad mini is the one in The Guardian. Most of the reviews have been positive, and most like the fact that the iPad mini gives a full iPad experience in a smaller, thinner, and lighter device. But then comes the caveat: it's too expensive. What was Apple thinking? they say. The article by Charles Arthur points out that this exact criticism was leveled at Apple back in 2004. Its iPod, introduced in 2001, was a huge hit, despite all those commentators who said that the MP3 player market was already saturated.
The iPad mini was not the only iPad to sell out this week. By Tuesday, Apple's pre-order inventory of the fourth generation iPad had also sold out, with the website giving a shipping time of one week. AppleInsider has posted a summary of the early reviews, which generally recognize that this is an incremental upgrade.
A couple top executives at Apple were shown the door yesterday, in a major shakeup by CEO Tim Cook. Scott Forstall, a longtime protege of Steve Jobs who accompanied Jobs when he moved to Apple from Next back in 1996, was relieved of his duties as head of the mobile software products group, which is responsible for iOS and Apple apps development. He will be retained into next year as a special advisor to Cook. In addition, John Browett, who Apple hired to head up their retail stores seven months ago, was let go.
At last week's event Apple announced version 3.0 of iBooks, their free ebook-reading app for iPhone and iPad, and iBooks Author, their free software for the Macintosh that lets users create multimedia, multitouch ebooks. The iBooks app adds a range of great features that many had been clamoring for. Most notably, you can now, finally, copy passages of text and share that text via email, iMessage, Facebook, or Twitter.
The 16GB white iPad mini sold out in minutes early last Friday morning, while the black model continued to be available for delivery on November 2. But now all models in Apple's pre-order inventory are sold out, as Apple's website is saying that it will take two weeks for them to ship. Yet again Apple has introduced a new gadget that's in big demand. They'll likely issue a press release shortly giving an indication of the numbers sold. Those who want an iPad mini this Friday and weren't lucky enough to get one of Apple's pre-order inventory iPads will now have to think about getting in line at a store.
When I ordered an iPad mini with cellular data connectivity, the Apple website said that it will ship in mid-November. And when I click the link in the email receipt, the Apple website tells me I can expect it to arrive on November 23 (coincidentally Black Friday). According to 9To5Mac, others are also receiving the same date -- though one can get the LTE iPad mini as early as November 21 with expedited delivery. This waiting is painful. Some lucky people will have their iPad minis in less than a week.
CNET has posted a video containing just the segment of Tuesday's event during which Apple VP Phil Schiller introduces the new iPad mini. He makes a strong case for it, and even generates some of the same excitement that Steve Jobs was so capable of.
I was glad Apple live-streamed today's event -- something they haven't done in a couple years. If you missed it, you can find a link near the top of the iPad mini page on Apple's web page for the iPad mini. There's also a link to a 4-minute video introducing the new iPad mini. It's well worth watching.
Apple CEO Tim Cook started off the iPad portion of the event with some amazing stats: over 100 million iPads sold the past two and a half years. Over 90% of web traffic from tablet computers originates from the iPad.
In addition to the iPad mini, Apple today announced a new version of the iPad with retina display -- just 6 months after the model was first introduced. Referrinig to it as the 4th-generation iPad, Phil Schiller said that it now has an A6X chip that doubles the performance for CPU tasks, as well as doubling graphics performance. It also uses a new-generation image processor for tasks such as face recognition. It's now compatible with many more LTE networks worldwide, and also has new WiFi technology that doubles the speed.
Apple's event just finished, and it didn't disappoint. The iPad mini looks like a winner. As I expected, one of the emphases was thin and light. It's 23% thinner than the current iPad and 53% lighter. It weighs just .68 lbs, and is .28 inches thick. As was rumored, it has the same resolution as the iPad 2 (1024x768), with the screen measuring 7.9 inches diagonally. What's important is that it's been completely re-engineered. This is, basically, a new iPad -- not just a current iPad made smaller. The WiFi-only model starts at $329 for 16GB memory. The version that connects to the cellular network starts at $459.