Apple Introduces $329 iPad Mini

Apple introduced an iPad Mini, a fourth generation iPad, a new version of iBooks, a new version of iBooks Author, and various Macs, in a press conference today.

The iPad Mini is “as thin as a pencil.” It has a 7.9-inch screen and is 7.2 mm think. It has the same resolution as the iPad 2 at 1,024 x 768. It is “as light as a pad of paper,” said Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller.

The idea behind the design was not to downsize an iPad, but to redesign a new experience with the smaller screen in mind. In the presentation, Schiller pointed out that the display area on the iPad Mini is a third larger than that on its Android competitors and 50 percent larger than Android for surfing the Web. “The iPad Mini is every inch an iPad,” said Schiller. It goes on presale this Friday and starts at $329.

The fourth generation iPad  is faster and lighter than previous models. It comes with a new A6X processor, a 720p Facetime camera on the front of the device and the same new image processor and lightning charger found on the iPhone 5.

Apple live streamed the event on Apple TV. During the event, Apple CEO Time Cook said that Apple had sold its 100 millionth iPad last week. “That’s 100 million in just two and a half years,” said Cook. He also pointed out that iPad accounts for 91 percent of web traffic on tablets.

The new version of iBooks has continuous scrolling, is better integrated with iCloud, has better sharing tools, and supports more than 40 languages. Cook also announced a new version of iBooks Author at the event. It comes with new templates and is aimed at both schools and businesses.

At the event Cook revealed that Apple customers have downloaded 35 billion apps from the App Store and that Apple has paid out $6.5 billion to developers. He also revealed that the iBookstore has more than 1 million books and customers have downloaded more than 400 million of them.

Cook also said that more than 200 million devices are now running iOS 6. “This is the fastest upgrade rate of any software in history that we are aware of,” he said.

At the event, Apple also revealed a new version of the 13-inch Mac Book Pro. It has been reengineered from scratch. It is 20 percent thinner than the previous model and weighs 3.5 pounds, almost a pound lighter than the previous model. It is the lightest Mac Book Pro ever. It includes a retina display and HDMI video out and an SD card reader. It has 13.3 inches on the diagonal and has up to seven hours of battery life. It ships with iOS Mountain Lion. It has built-in voice dictation. It is $1699 and it starts shipping today and Apple boasts that it is environmentally friendly. Apps like Evernote and Sketchbook Pro have been updated to support the new high-res retina display.

At the event, Apple also introduced a new version of the Mac Mini and a new version of the iMac. The new iMac has a thin flat screen, impressive for a model which is known for being big and bulbous. It is eight pounds lighter than the previous iMac. “There is a serious computer inside this thin design,” said Schiller, who showed off the device at the event.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated as more details have been revealed.