Live blog: Apple iPad Mini event

Live Blog

Live blog: Apple iPad Mini event

Realtime coverage of Apple's iPad Mini launch event at San Jose.

The event at the California Theatre came a few days before Microsoft starts selling a new version of its Windows operating system, one designed to work well on both traditional computers and tablets. Microsoft is also releasing its own tablet, the Surface, on Friday. It will be slightly larger than the full-sized iPad.

The numbers

At the launch event Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about the success of the iPhone 5 and the new iPod Touch, both released last month. He said there have been 3 million iPod Touches sold. He also talked about an upgrade to Apple's software for mobile devices, iOS 6. He said there were now 200 million devices running iOS 6. He said the app store had more than 700,000 apps, including 275,000 for the iPad. Customers have downloaded more than 35 billion apps, he said.

Tim Cook touted an e-book app called iBooks and announced a new version with a new reading option: continuous scrolling. With that, you keep scrolling down the screen rather than flip pages to keep reading. You can also tap on a quote to share instantly on Facebook or Twitter.

13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

After touting growth in Mac computers at a time when sales of Windows-based machines are slowing, Apple introduced a new MacBook. In June, Apple introduced a MacBook Pro that is about as thin as its already-slim MacBook Air, but with a sharper display. That model had a 15.4-inch screen.

At Tuesday's event, Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller unveiled a smaller version, with a screen of 13.3 inches. He noted that the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro that Apple already makes has been the company's top-selling laptop. The new version adds the sharper display and is thinner and lighter than the regular MacBook Pro.

"In typical Apple fashion, we are going to take our best product and introduce something better and much cooler," Schiller said. The starting price is $1,699.

New Mac Mini

Phil Schiller teased audience by talking about the Mac Mini, not an iPad Mini. "You knew there would be something called 'mini' in this presentation," he said to laughter. A new Mac Mini starts at $599 and comes with 4 gigabytes of RAM, or working memory, and a 500 GB hard drive for storage. A $999 version comes with a terabyte hard drive, or double the capacity.

The ultra-slim iMac

The audience cheered as Schiller unveiled new iMac computers. It looks like a super-thin display screen, but Schiller noted that "there is an entire computer in here."

There will be models with Apple's new fusion drive. That's a combination of the traditional, spinning hard drive and one using flash memory. Flash is faster, but capacity is smaller. Schiller says the fusion drive will have the speed of flash and the capacity of regular hard drives. They will come in two display sizes. The 21.5-inch version starts at $1,299, and the larger one at $1,799. They will be available in December. As he introduced the new iMacs, Schiller showed on a giant display how the iMac has shrunk over the years.

Apple says it sold its 100 millionth iPad two weeks ago. That means it sold about 16 million since the end of the second quarter, the last time it released a figure. CEO Tim Cook discussed how teachers have been using iPads in their classrooms and said electronic textbooks through iBooks are now available for 80 per cent of the high school curriculum. It was a sign Apple was looking to challenge Amazon.com, which has been pushing textbooks on its Kindle devices.

4th generation iPad

Apple unveiled a new version of the full-sized iPad - an update to the third-generation device that went on sale in March. It promises a faster processing chip and faster wireless Wi-Fi connectivity. It will also sport the new connector that Apple unveiled with the new iPhone 5 last month. Apple says the new connector helps the company keep up with modern times, but it also requires consumers to buy new accessories or an adapter. Prices remain the same, starting at $499.

iPad Mini

After much anticipation, Phil Schiller unveiled the iPad Mini. "You can hold it in one hand," he said. "It's not just a shrunken down iPad. It's an entirely new design." The smaller iPad has a 7.9-inch screen, digitally reversed from the full-sized iPad's 9.7 inches. Schiller said all of the software designed for the original iPad will work on the smaller one, as the display is 1024 by 768 pixels - the same as the original iPad. The latest, full-sized iPad has a sharper screen at 2048 by 1536 pixels.

The new iPad Mini starts at $329, which makes it more expensive than rival, 7-inch products. Advance orders for the iPad Mini and the new full-sized iPad will begin Friday. They will be available for sale November 2.

The $329 price puts the Mini between the 2011 full-sized iPad model at $399 and the 4-inch iPod Touch at $199. By contrast, Amazon.com's Kindle Fire starts at $159, and Google's Nexus 7 at $199. Both have 7-inch screens. There's also a version that will be capable of using cellular networks. That will go on sale two weeks later. That's a feature the cheaper, 7-inch tablets don't have.

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