Apple launches iPad mini with Retina

After weeks of speculation, leaks, rumour and whispered gossip traded behind the bike shed during lunch break, the iPad mini with Retina has officially been released into the big wide world at the Apple launch event in San Francisco.

It’s good news, especially since everyone and their technologically-savvy Granny were wondering if the iPad mini with Retina would even get to see the launch at all. Rumours surfaced suggesting that the second-gen, pint-sized tablet would either be hard to come by in 2013, or would even not be released until early-2014 thanks to the company’s supply chain only starting to produce the high-resolution display panels required for the tablet’s eagerly anticipated Retina screen.

So what’s new?

Well, Apple fanboys and girls of the world rejoice: the iPad Mini 2 will be arriving in stores clad with a full 2,048 x 1,536 pixel Retina display for crystal clear, crisp image quality on a 7.9in screen.

The tablet will also be blessed with the A7 chip that’s also available in the iPhone 5S. Many will also be smiling smugly that predictions of 64-bit architecture have come true, with Apple being particularly jazz hands about the fact that the iPad mini with Retina runs 4x faster than last year’s model as well as being 8x quicker at graphics tasks.

All this, and 10 hour battery life, MIMO Wi-Fi support and extended LTE bands to boot make the iPad mini with Retina a sure favourite for the upcoming holiday season at the not-too-shabby price of $399 (around £369 with UK premium) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model.

Those not wanting to splash the cash, however, can still treat themselves to the old iPad mini 16GB Wi-Fi model at the slashed price of $299 – probably around £279 once it hits the UK.

The only tinge of disappointment will come for those who were salivating in anticipation over the prospect of an iPad mini in gold flavour; Apple are releasing the second-gen device with two finishes, one silver/white and the other space grey/black.

Still, with the announcement of a new range of leather covers, those wanting some aesthetic glamour won’t be completely downcast.

Apple also revealed the iPad Air - relive all the action and excitement by checking out Apple iPad launch event live blog.