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Apple unveils the iPad mini

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The big news today was supposed to be about the iPad Mini, but it was almost upstaged by the new, faster iPad 4. The surprise announcement left some techies who bought the iPad 3 six months ago a little upset.

But they can take some comfort at least the iPad 4 looks the same, said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester.

“So there isn’t that status marker of, ‘Oh, this iPad is thinner than yours or mine,’” Rotman Epps said.

And now to the Mini. Roger Kay said while Apple dominates the tablet market, it’s late on the game in getting its mini-tablet out.

“Apple is coming out with a product that I think is as being defensive,” Kay said. “There are other competitors Samsung with its Galaxy and Amazon with its Fire in that space already.”

And Kay said the competition is taking some market share from the iPad. The iPad Mini has a bigger screen than its competitors. But at $329, it’s $100 more than the Galaxy and nearly $200 more than the 7-inch Kindle.

And that’s left some people wondering, who is Apple competing with? The other tablets or itself?

Epps said consumers have shown they’re willing to pay more for Apple products and so, while it’s relatively expensive, the Mini is still competitive. At the same time, Epps said she expects the Mini to eat into full-size tablet sales. But she said that’s not a bad thing.

“Apple deserves a lot of credit for being willing to cannibalize its own products before somebody else does,” Epps said. And it’s this willingness to compete against itself that has in part, made Apple a success.

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