So does the iPad Mini look like a full-size iPad, just smaller?
Not exactly. Although the overall design is similar, a few significant differences make the iPad Mini unique. The most obvious is the color scheme. Apple has adopted the iPhone 5's color options for the iPad Mini: You can get one with a silver-aluminum back, a white screen bezel, and shiny silver buttons and switches. Or you can go with the black/slate model, which has a slate-black aluminum back, buttons, and switches with a glossy-black screen bezel. Like the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini has chamfered edges between the body and the glass display.
Instead of tapering to a thin edge where it meets the screen, the back of the iPad Mini is more squared-off -- like that of the original iPhone and iPod touch. And on the longer sides, the bezels framing the iPad Mini's display are much narrower than those of a full-size iPad, allowing Apple to squeeze in as much screen area as possible in the iPad Mini's smaller package. One touch we're looking forward to testing: Apple says that the iPad Mini's screen “intelligently recognizes whether your thumb is simply resting on the display or whether you're intentionally interacting with it.”
What about the other specs? How do those compare to the full-size iPads?
Though many people expected the iPad Mini to be essentially a smaller version of the iPad 2, with much the same inner hardware, it's actually somewhere between the iPad 2 and the current full-size iPad. The iPad Mini uses a dual-core A5 processor, like the iPad 2. (Because Apple doesn't publish clock speeds for its iPad chips, we can't compare them directly.) It has the same FaceTime HD (720p) front camera and 5-megapixel (1080p-capable) back camera as the fourth-generation iPad; compare that to the VGA-resolution front camera and 960-by-720-pixel back camera we got on the iPad 2. Similarly, the iPad Mini offers Bluetooth 4.0, with optional LTE wireless data; the iPad 2 included Bluetooth 2.1, with only 3G connectivity as an option. (The iPad Mini with LTE uses the same LTE chip as the fourth-generation iPad does, so it's compatible with more carriers than the third-generation iPad was.) And like the fourth-generation iPad, the iPad Mini sports a Lightning connector and includes Siri.
Apple says the iPad Mini offers battery life similar to that of the full-size iPad: up to 10 hours of Wi-Fi Web surfing, watching video, or listening to music; or up to 9 hours of Web surfing over a cellular-data connection.
In one regard, the iPad Mini actually uses newer technology than the latest full-size model: The iPad Mini accepts the same nano-SIM card as the iPhone 5 does, whereas all full-size iPads use the older micro-SIM card.
How much does the iPad Mini cost?
The iPad Mini is available in the same configurations as the fourth-generation iPad, but each model is $170 less. In other words, the 16GB Wi-Fi model goes for $329, 32GB is $429, and 64GB is $529; adding LTE cellular data ups the price to $459, $559, or $659, respectively. You can order one starting on Friday, October 26. Apple says the iPad Mini will start shipping November 2.
Now that the iPad Mini exists, why would anyone buy an iPod touch?
With the 32GB iPod touch priced at $299 and the 64GB model priced at $399 -- $70 more than the entry-level iPad Mini -- some people are wondering why anyone would go for the iPod touch. That's a valid question. But Apple would say -- and we would agree, for the most part -- that the markets for the two products are very different.