Apple Unveils New, Smaller iPad, New iBooks; Will It Change the E-Book World?

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Apple’s latest gizmo is something no one expected just over a year ago and could change the publishing industry.

The iPad Mini is 0.68 lbs and has a 7.9 inch screen and will start at $329 for the 16-gigabyte, WiFi-only version. A 32GB version will cost $429 and a 64GB version will cost $529 — WiFi-only. The price points go up for the versions with cellular connectivity to $459, $559 and $659, respectively. The device will ship to consumers on Nov. 2 with pre-orders starting on Oct. 26.

The device has the same pixel count and screen resolution as other iPads and, therefore, all iPad apps will look the same on the smaller device as they do on larger devices.

Apple announced the device at a press event today in Calif. The iPad Mini is Apple’s answer to popular seven-inch tablets like the Kindle Fire HD, Nook HD, Google Nexus 7 and others. Here’s how some of them compare in price to the iPad Mini:

Kindle Fire: $159
Kindle Fire HD: $199
Kindle Fire HD (32 GB): $249
Nook HD: $199
Nook HD (16 GB): $229
Google Nexus 7: $199
Google Nexus 7 (16GB): $249
Kobo Arc: $199
Kobo Arc (16GB): $249

Each of the above tablets runs a version of Google’s Android operating system. Android tablets, in general, are thought to be of lower quality than Apple’s iPads; but in the past year, the quality of the Android tablets have caught up significantly to Apple.

According to a new report out today, the iPad Mini will help fuel a huge growth in the seven-inch tablet market, which is expected to double to 34 million units in 2012 and double again to 67 million in 2013.

More tablets in the market, even one so popular as the iPad Mini could become, is a mixed blessing for publishers. On the one hand, more reading devices in consumers’ hands broadens the e-reading population. On the other, tablet readers may be less likely to buy and read e-books than those who read on dedicated e-readers.

Through the end of last year and into early 2012, Apple’s dominance of the tablet market ebbed as competitors came online with credible, cheaper alternatives to the iPad. Among tablet readers in particular, Apple suffered a 25-point drop in market-share — two out of five readers used an iPad in earlier 2012 versus two out of three in 2011.

In addition to launching its new tablet today, Apple also unveiled a new Mac Mini desktop, a new iMac, a new full-size iPad, a new version of iBooks and a new version of iBooks Author.

The new, fourth-generation iPad has a faster processor than its predecessor, more connectivity options and starts at $499.

The new version of iBooks has new options, like continuous scrolling reading. The new iBooks Author offers publishers more options, Apple said, including portrait-only books and mathematical expressions.

In just two-and-a-half years since launching the first iPad in Jan. 2010, Apple has sold some 100 million of the devices. Its bookstore now has 1.5 million e-books and is at 400 million downloads.

Apple shook the publishing world in Jan. 2010 when it launched the first iPad. At the same time, the first Digital Book World conference was taking place. The announcement reverberated through the hundreds of e-book and digital publishing attendees at the conference and the publishing world was never the same.

Don’t miss out on the excitement and invaluable networking and intelligence at Digital Book World. Register for Digital Book World 2013 today and save $200 get the lowest possible rate!

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