news Iconic technology giant Apple has confirmed that its new iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad tablets announced overnight will support the 4G mobile networks of Telstra and Optus when they launch in Australia, although the versions supporting mobile broadband will launch several weeks later than the Wi-Fi versions.
The company famously advertised its third-generation iPad, which launched in late 2011 in Australia, as supporting 4G speeds, but copped a $2.25 million fine from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for false advertising as the tablet only supported the dual-carrier HSPA speeds which Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have rolled out on their networks and not Telstra’s 4G network, which uses the LTE standard. Since that time, Optus has also launched a similar 4G network, also using the 1800MHz band, and Vodafone is planning a similar network launch for 2013.
Early this morning in the US, Apple unveiled a smaller, 7.9” version of its iPad tablet, as well as a fourth-generation model with a small number of improved specifications. Queried on the issue of 4G support this morning, an Apple Australia spokesperson highlighted a specific page on the company’s site detailing 4G support.
It notes that Apple will actually create two different series of the iPad and iPad mini with 4G support. One, featuring support for the 700MHz wireless spectrum, will function on the networks of AT&T in the US and Bell, Rogers and Canada in Canada. Australia’s carriers have long-term plans to utilise the 700MHz spectrum, but are not doing so in a commercial fashion yet.
A second series of the new iPad and iPad mini will support a number of other wireless spectrum bands, including the 1800Mhz spectrum used in Australia by Telstra, Optus and planned to be used for Vodafone, and will also function on Sprint and Verizon in the US, Deutsche Telekom in Germany, EE in the United Kingdom, KDDI and SoftBank in Japan, SK Telecom and KT in Korea, Hutchison and SmarTone in Hong Kong and M1, SingTel and StarHub in Singapore.
Apple also announced Australian availability and pricing for the new fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini, the Wi-Fi only models of which will both go on sale locally on the morning of Friday 2 November. Versions supporting 3G and 4G mobile broadband access will go on sale “a couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi models”.
The iPad mini (Wi-Fi version) will be available in black & slate or white & silver colours for a recommended retail price of $369, $479 and $489 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models respectively. A version also supporting 3G/4G mobile broadband will go for $509, $619 and $729 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models respectively.
The fourth-generation iPad (Wi-Fi edition) will be on sale in black and white models for a RRP of $539, $649 and $759 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, and the fourth-generation iPad with 3G/4G mobile broadband speeds will go on sale several weeks later for $679, $789 and $899 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models. In addition, the second-generation model (the iPad 2) is available for a RRP of $429 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $569 for the 16GB 3G/4G model.
The full specifications of the iPad mini are available online, but essentially the tablet features a smaller 7.9” screen, compared with the iPad’s 9.7” screen. The screen’s resolution is 1024×768, the same resolution as the original iPad models before Apple upped the resolution as it implemented its new ‘Retina Display’ feature, which means that apps designed for those original resolutions will fit precisely with the new iPad mini’s screen.
The CPU of the iPad mini is a dual-core Apple A5 model, and it comes with a five megapixel camera on its rear, capable of 1080p HD video recording and a 1.2 megapixel camera on the front capable of 720p HD video. The tablet also comes with Apple’s new, smaller ‘Lightning’ connector for charging and synching, and it boasts a battery capable of up to 10 hours of use. The new, fourth-generation 9.7” iPad also has the new Lightning connector, as well as a faster Apple A6X CPU, a 720p HD camera on the front, and additional 4G mobile broadband support in countries such as Australia. Apart from these features, most of the features on the new 9.7” iPad remain the same as the old ones.
Apple has pretty much done what is expected with the launch of the iPad mini and the new fourth-generation iPad this morning. I’ll preview both products in separate articles, as well as the new iMacs and 13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display, but I think both will be quite popular in Australia – likely the iPad mini will be extraordinarily popular in Australia. There has been substantial demand for this smaller form factor for some time.
Image credit: Apple