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Apple takes on tablet rivals with new iPad mini

Apple has unveiled a new small version of its popular iPad in a bid to take on rivals Google, Amazon and Samsung in the small tablet market. It's Apple's biggest product debut since the first iPad two years ago.

The device, which is 7.9 inches (20 cm) weighs 680 grams and is just 7.2 mm thick, was launched at an Apple event in San Jose, California on Tuesday.

"This isn't just a shrunken down iPad," Apple's senior vice president for marketing Phil Schiller said as he displayed the new product. "It is an entirely new design."

With a 16-gigabyte version of the device with Wi-Fi connectivity priced at $329 (around 250 euros), Apple is making its first foray into the smaller-tablet market. It's been designed to compete with cheaper pocket-sized tablets such as Amazon's Kindle and Google's Nexus 7, both priced starting at $199.

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Meet the new ipad

While the news of the launch was welcomed by Wall Street, many analysts warned that the higher-than-expected price might turn away some cost conscious consumers.

While the iPad mini is significantly more expensive, it is also lighter, thinner and provides more screen space than rival offerings.

Apple says it will be available to pre-order on October 26. Wi-Fi versions will then begin shipping to three dozen countries in Asia and Europe, as well as the United States, on November 2.

Apple has sold over 100 million iPad's since first releasing the original device in 2010.

A fourth generation of the original iPad was also unveiled on Tuesday for a starting price of $499 for a 16 GB model with Wi-Fi connectivity.

ccp/jm (AFP, Reuters)

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