Well, it’s finally here – the most anticipated gadget since, well, Apple’s last most anticipated gadget.
Hot on the heels of the iPhone 5, which broke records selling two million on the first day alone, comes the iPad mini. We all knew it was on the way, but that hasn’t curbed any of our excitement.
And, if the reaction so far to the new 7.9-inch device is anything to go by, it could be Apple’s best-selling iPad yet.
“This is the most beautiful tablet computer anyone has ever made, including Apple,” said The Telegraph’s Shane Richmond. High praise indeed, especially as it was coming from a self-confirmed cynic who previously had been unable to see the appeal of seven-inch devices, thinking them neither large nor small enough to be useful.
And Joshua Topolsky from The Verge agreed, saying build quality “easily surpassed” anything else on the market. “The thinness and sleekness of the casing cannot be overstated,” he adds. “It feels as high-end as the new iPhone, but even sharper in the hand – like a slice of solid aluminium.”
Engadget was equally full of praise. “Where it excels, predictably, is the overall fit and finish. Just as the bigger iPad, this one feels delightful in the hand,” says Darren Murph.
But it hasn’t all been sweet as apple pie for the tech giant. And the one worm in the apple seems to be the price. As John Koetsier for VentureBeat said: “The one problem with Apple’s tablet garden, I think, is the price.” He added: “The whisper number had a starting price at $250, which would have been an aggressive price that would have driven a lot of consumer adoption. Apple will still sell the proverbial boatload at $329 and up… but it’s not quite as easy a decision at $250.”
The price tag is well outside the bracket of Apple’s seven-inch rivals, with the Kindle Fire, Blackberry Playbook and Google Nexus 7 all retailing at under £200. We’ll just have to see who wins the tablet wars. It will certainly be interesting to see what sales figures are in the run up to Christmas.
With all eyes on the iPad mini launch, Microsoft’s offering seems to have slipped quiety under the radar. Microsoft’s Surface device, designed to rival the full-size iPad, has been met with mixed reactions.
Wired has rather damned the gizmo with faint praise, describing it as “quite good, while Pocket Lint said even though you can get a higher spec Surface for the same price as an entry-level iPad, consumers would still opt for Apple.
“They will simply see that it’s a straight choice between and iPad and Surface, and I think the majority of people will choose an iPad,” says Stuart Miles on the site, “they just won’t be aware of a spec fight.”
But if you think the baby iPad or Surface are expensive, just wait till what could be the most expensive Apple product in history comes onto the market.
An Apple computer that is as rare as seeing a baby pigeon is set to be auctioned in Germany. The Apple 1 device, which is one of only half a dozen still in working order, is to go up for sale on November 24.
Another of the super six went on sale in New York recently, raising a whopping £234,000 ($374,500) but this one is expected to raise even more when it goes under the hammer as it comes with its original accessories, including a tape player and software tapes.
“Technology from the dawn of the computer age is attracting a great new generation of collectors,” said auction house founder Uwe Breker.
Another future relic of the past is the Analogue signal, with the end of a television era taking place this week as the UK’s switch to digital television was completed in the biggest shake up of terrestrial viewing in seven decades.
David Scott, Digital UK chief executive, said: “I’m delighted to say people have generally taken the change in their stride and the UK now has a TV network fit for the 21st Century.”
It looks as though the path has, then, been cleared for 4G, with the now-vacant 800MHz band set to be auctioned off for 4G high-speed mobile broadband. And that auction is sure to attract a much higher price, and be even more fiercely contested, than the fight to be the owner of that coveted Apple 1.