Apple unveils iPad Mini: What IT needs to know

As companies struggle to formalize their BYOD strategies, here comes another sure-to-be-popular device users will be asking IT to support: Apple’s just-announced iPad Mini. 

Recently, new tablets have hit the market — including Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD — that many observers have labelled relatively low-cost alternatives to Apple’s ultra-popular iPad.

However, rumors had been swirling that Apple would attempt to undercut those competitors by releasing a smaller, lower priced tablet of its own. Now that’s official, as Apple announced the launch of the iPad Mini.

Here are some key facts Apple unveiled about the new tablet:

  • Screen size — The iPad Mini will feature a 7.9-inch screen, smaller than the 9.7 inches in previous versions of the iPad, and larger than the 7-inch Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire tablets.
  • Hardware specs — Inside, the iPad Mini will use the same dual-core processor and 512 MB of RAM as the iPad 2, and it’ll be available with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of storage. In comparison, the Nexus has 8 GB or 16 GB of storage, 1 GB of RAM, and a quad-core processor, while the Kindle Fire HD has 16 GB and 32 GB options, along with a dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM.
  • Connectivity — The iPad Mini will be available with Wi-Fi only, or with 4G LTE connectivity. The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7 are Wi-Fi only, though there is an 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD with LTE, and a 3G-enabled version of the Nexus 7 has been rumored to be in the works.
  • Price — The base model of the iPad Mini — Wi-Fi only with 16 GB of storage — will cost $329. That’s less than the cheapest regular-sized iPad (the $399 iPad 2) and more than the $199 base-model tablets from Amazon and Google. The 32 GB and 64 GB versions of the iPad Mini will cost $429 and $529, respectively, while models with cellular data capability will run $459, $559 and $659 for the different storage options.

IT managers: Get ready to support the iPad Mini

The device will be available for pre-order on October 26. Experts expect the iPad Mini to sell well, as previous tablets from Apple have. In fact, in one survey released in May, more than half (52%) of consumers said they would definitely purchase a smaller iPad if it was priced between $250 and $300.

While the price is slightly out of that range, IT departments should get ready for requests to support this next popular Apple iOS device. Fortunately, software for the iPad Mini doesn’t appear to be any different from other iPads, so organizations already supporting Apple tablets won’t have much work to do.

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