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Apple is not a company to rest on its laurels. Not content to dominate, it even wants to create its own market. The overwhelming success of the iPad has helped Apple redefine the tablet computer market. Now, after months of hype and rumor, Apple presents the iPad Mini. So, what does the smaller version have to offer?

No offense to the iPad, but not everybody wants a huge tablet. (A 10-inch screen is apparently huge nowadays.) This fact has been demonstrated by the strong sales of Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, and the like. So the Mini jumps on the bandwagon and promises the same premium experience you had with the iPad on a smaller chassis.

Like with almost every Apple gadget, the attention to hardware is still top-notch. Apple claims the Mini is 23% thinner and 53% lighter than the iPad, making it substantially more commuter-friendly. It also sports an all-aluminum construction, looking more like an oversized iPhone 5 than a shrunken iPad.

The display may not be a spec monster nor a Retina, but at this size, it’s purportedly better than the iPad 2. And let’s face it, if you haven’t seen a Retina display, chances are you won’t be able to notice the difference.

The rest of the spec sheet is almost identical to that of its bigger brother (now the 4th-generation iPad). And this is where Apple may have an edge over its competitors: the Mini would probably give the same experience as a full-sized premium tablet, not a scaled-down version. Plus, the App Store ecosystem is still the best out there, with the Android Play Store still playing catch up. This, more than any other reason, is probably why people would choose the Mini over its competitors, despite being significantly more expensive.

It would seem that the Mini is set to bulldoze all other small tablets. But let’s remember that Amazon and Google have had a couple of months’ head start pushing their small tablets. Also, this is the first time in recent memory that Apple has seemingly been pushed to respond to the competition. Has there really been a paradigm shift inside the Cupertino tech giant after its founder’s death? Time will tell. But if the Mini still dominated the market, it might not even matter anymore.

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