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$329 iPad Mini announced

Apple unveils smaller tablet with lower entry-level price point; new iMac and full-size iPad also detailed

After months of speculation and rumors, Apple senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller officially announced the iPad Mini today at a press event in San Jose.

The iPad Mini sports a 7.9-inch screen with a 1024x768 resolution. It's the same resolution as the larger iPad, so all existing iPad software displays on the Mini in its native resolution. The unit is 7.2mm thick (about 15 percent thinner than the last iPad), weighing .68 pounds (53 percent less), and sports a dual-core A5 chip, a FaceTime HD camera, and a 5-megapixel rear camera.

The system starts at $329 for a 16GB, Wi-fi-only version. It also comes in 32GB and 64GB versions, with the priciest package (64GB with Wi-fi and cellular) selling for $659. Wi-fi iPad Minis will start shipping November 2, with preorders opening this Friday. The cellular versions of the tablet are set to launch a few weeks later in the US before rolling out around the world.

Schiller brought up an Android tablet for direct comparison against the iPad Mini, criticizing its display size, its heavier build materials, and web surfing experience. Taking into account interface, Schiller said the iPad browser winds up with a 67 percent larger display in landscape mode, and 50 percent larger when upright.

Before the iPad Mini unveiling, Apple CEO Tim Cook touted a new milestone for the company's line of tablets, saying Apple recently sold its 100 millionth iPad. And even though competitors are selling lots of lower-cost tablets, Cook stressed that the iPad is still being used more, saying Apple's efforts account for 91 percent of all tablet web traffic.

Schiller also introduced the fourth generation iPad. The newest version of the tablet features an A6X chip said to be twice as powerful as the previous iPad's A5X, an updated camera, faster Wi-fi, expanded LTE coverage, and all with the same 10-hour battery life. It will come in black and white versions with the same configurations as the last iPad, starting at $499 for the Wi-Fi-only 16GB versions.

Additionally, Schiller showed off the company's new 13-inch Macbook Pro sporting a high-resolution Retina display. The redesigned laptop is three-quarters-of-an-inch thick (about 20 percent thinner than the last version) and is the lightest MacBook yet at 3.5 pounds. Other revisions include reduced screen glare and a higher contrast ratio.

The laptop is available in a number of different configurations, but starts at $1,699 for the model sporting a dual-core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB solid-state drive. The new notebook starts shipping today.

Schiller also unveiled the new eighth generation iMac. The iMac has a slim 5mm edge, and comes in 21.5-inch and 27-inch sizes. Purchasers will also be able to purchase solid-state or hard-disk drive versions of the hardware, or a "Fusion Drive" version that uses both types of storage. Schiller said the computer will figure out what programs and content users would benefit most from being stored on the flash drive and automatically juggles the data between the two drives.

The 21.5-inch iMac starts at $1,299, while the 27-inch version sells for $1,799. The smaller version starts shipping in November, with its larger counterpart following in December.

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