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iPad Mini To Start At $329

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Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPad Mini during an Apple special event at the historic California Theater on October 23, 2012 in San Jose, California. The iPad Mini is Apple's smaller version of the iPad tablet.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPad Mini during an Apple special event at the historic California Theater on October 23, 2012 in San Jose, California. The iPad Mini is Apple’s smaller version of the iPad tablet. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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SAN JOSE (CBS4/AP) – The worst-kept secret in the world, the iPad mini, was officially unveiled by Apple Tuesday with a starting price of $329 for the base model and a screen that is not quite up to the standards of the iPad Mini’s competitors.

The new iPad mini weighs in at just 0.68 pounds, half the weight of the full-size iPad, and is as thin as a pencil. The screen resolution is only 1024×768, which is the same as the iPad2, but less than that of the Kindle Fire HD and others.

Apple starts taking orders for the new model on Friday Oct. 26 and will ship the Wi-Fi-only models on Nov. 2, said marketing chief Phil Schiller at an event in San Jose, Calif. Later, the company will add models capable of accessing “LTE” wireless data networks.

“It’s not just a shrunken down iPad, it’s an entirely new design,” Schiller said.

Company watchers have for a year been expecting the company to release a smaller iPad to counter cheaper tablets like Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire. However, most were expecting it to cost between $250 and $300. At $329, it’s twice the price of the basic Kindle Fire.

In a surprise, Apple also said it’s upgrading its full-size iPad tablet just six months after launching a new model, doubling the speed of the processor. Previously, the company has updated the iPad once a year.

The fourth-generation iPad will have a better camera and work on more “LTE” wireless data networks around the world. Apple is also replacing the 30-pin dock connector with the new, smaller “Lightning” connector introduced with the iPhone 5 a month ago.

The price of the new full-size model stays the same as the previous version, starting at $499 for a Wi-Fi-only version with 16 gigabytes of memory.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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