Apple's new iPad Mini will launch in Australia next week, starting from $369 for the basic 16GB WiFi model through to $729 for the top-line edition with 64GB and 4G connectivity.
As expected, the iPad Mini sports a 7.9 inch screen against the 9.7 inch panel of the 'classic' iPad. This specific size was chosen so that the iPad Mini can easily run existing iPad (and iPhone) apps.
However, the iPad Mini doesn't use the lush Retina display of the latest iPad, with Apple settling for a standard (1024 x 768) resolution screen to keep costs down.
That said, the Mini's screen will look a little more 'punchy' compared to a non-Retina iPad because of the higher pixel density which comes from cramming the same number of pixels onto a smaller screen.
The 4G versions of the iPad Mini will work with the new 4G networks of Telstra and Optus, and in common with the iPhone 5 the iPad Mini uses Apple's new Lightning connector (and on 4G models, a nanoSIM card).
Here's how the iPad Mini family shakes out.
16GB, WiFi: $369
32GB, WiFi: $479
64GB, WiFi: $589
16GB, WiFi + 4G: $509
32GB, WiFi + 4G: $619
64GB, WiFi + 4G $729
The WiFi-only iPad Mini will be on sale from November 2 with pre-orders from this Friday, October 26, while Apple says the WiFi+3G version "arrives in stores in late November".
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The conventional iPad has also been upgraded to sport global-friendly 4G, a faster processor and the new Lightning connector, although the pricing hasn't changed.
Don't forget: if you're buying an iPad Mini, iPad or almost any other piece of travel gear you can take advantage of the TRS refund scheme to claim back the GST portion of the price.
The sweet spot for travellers?
The iPad Mini sees Apple going up against other mid-sized and mainstream-priced tablets, most notably the Google Nexus 7 – which is tipped to undergo a revamp which will double the storage to a maximum 32GB for the same $299 price as today's 16GB model, and push the 16GB unit down to the $249 slot of the current 8GB entry-level Nexus.
Of course, there are other 7 inchers out there – including tablets from BlackBerry and Samsung, with others such as the new Acer Iconia A110 on the way.
It makes us wonder if 7 inch tablets might turn out to be the sweet spot for travellers.
It's not that anybody has complained that 10 inch tablets are too big, but the added portability of a smaller device – coupled with low prices that almost make them a 'no brainer' buy, especially for the first-time tablet owner – could see devices like the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 carve out their own niche in airport lounges, planes, hotels and cafes.
What's your take: will you be buying an iPad Mini or another 7 inch tablet, and would you recommend one to your friends and colleagues? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.