Apple launched the 7.9in iPad Mini at an event in San Jose on Thursday in its bid to compete with the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD.
However, with a price tag higher than its budget Android rivals and with specs that failed to set the world alight, can the Apple iPad Mini persuade Christmas shoppers to hand over their cash?
For those who have been holding their breath for a smaller, more portable iPad, the iPad Mini isn't going to disappoint. At just 7.2mm thick and weighing 308g, the iPad Mini makes its rivals look almost chubby in comparison and has taken the title of the smallest 7in tablet on the market despite offering more screen space than its competitors.
In terms of build quality, the iPad Mini comes crafted from aluminium, which although prone to occasional scratches should ensure it withstands the odd drop now and then. The tablet also boasts a curved rear, which Apple claims makes it easy to use with one hand, a feature that will appeal to those not so keen on the heft of the iPad 3.
For those who are looking for an iPad Mini to match their iPhone, the tablet will be available in both black and white.
Although we weren't quite sure what to expect from Apple's announcement, we were disappointed to learn that the iPad Mini won't feature Apple's trademark Retina display, instead opting for a 7.9in 1,024x768 touchscreen with the same resolution found on the iPad 2. Although we had no gripes with the quality of the iPad 2's screen, it's worth noting that this is a lower screen resolution than that of its Nexus 7 rival.
We might not be won over by the iPad Mini's screen resolution, but its expanse of screen real estate is impressive. Apple was quick to mock the Nexus 7 at its heavily hyped event on Thursday, talking up the fact the iPad Mini's display is 35 percent larger than 7in tablets, offering up to 67 percent more space for web browsing thanks to Android's onscreen navigation keys and tabbed browsing feature. Given that web browsing is one of the most appealing factors of owning a tablet, this factor might just lure buyers away from rival tablets.
On paper, the iPad Mini's dual-core A5 processor sounds just about as appealing as its low-resolution display. However, having tested the chip on Apple's second-generation tablet, this will still offer great performance for tasks such as browsing the web, gaming and downloading apps. Of course, if Apple had configured the pint-sized tablet with its latest A6X processor, we could wave goodbye to that £269 price-tag, too.
It'll come as no surprise that the Apple iPad Mini runs iOS 6 too, not iOS 6.1 as speculation suggested.
Aside from its terrible Maps application, iOS 6 offers a straightforward user experience, which we think is ideal for tablet novices keen to switch their laptop for a more up-to-date, touchscreen alternative. Compared to Android, for example, iOS 6 does exactly what it says on the tin, offering a simple layout of application icons that even the biggest technophobe will be able to get their hands around - a feature we think might sway buyers to the iPad this Christmas season.
However, one niggle with iOS 6 is its lack of personalisation options, so for those after widgets and customisable home screens, the cheaper Nexus 7 is a better option.
While we have yet to get our grubby mitts on the iPad Mini, we certainly know everything about it. As well as a 7.9in screen, iOS 6 and a dual-core processor, Apple's pint-sized tablet comes with a Facetime camera along with a 5MP iSight camera on its back. Apple's imaging typically tends to be pretty impressive, so we doubt that users will be disappointed with the cameras.
In terms of storage, like the fourth-generation iPad the iPad Mini will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, offering buyers plenty of choice. Still, its cloud storage offering isn't quite so generous, as iPad Mini buyers will be treated to just 5GB of free iCloud storage.
The iPad Mini also features support for Apple's new Lightning adapter, as it slowly phases out its old 30-pin cable. While this won't bother those who are buying their first tablet or early adopters of the iPhone 5, this could prove to be a nuisance for those who have already forked out on iPad docking stations, for example.
It might not have a Retina display or Apple's latest and greatest processor, but that's not what the iPad Mini is about. The iPad Mini shows Apple pushing to ensure that every household owns one of its products, and it clearly hopes that its latest tablet will attract those after an easy-to-use, portable tablet. And with a £269 price tag, it might just do that.
Check out our iPad Mini interactive guide.
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