Apple VP Phil Schiller spent awhile at Tuesday's iPad Mini event talking trash about Google's similarly-sized Nexus 7 tablet, according to Android Central's Alex Dobie. The Nexus 7, made in partnership with Asus, is specially designed to run the latest version of Android, and gets frequent feature updates much like Apple devices do. It also came out months before the iPad Mini, and millions of the small, $199 tablets have been sold so far.
It's clear that Apple has the Nexus 7 in its sights. So how does the iPad Mini compare to Google's flagship tablet?
Not much bigger (except for its screen)
The iPad Mini is only about half an inch wider than the Nexus 7, but features a 7.9 inch screen with 35 percent more area than the Nexus 7's ... in other words, it has a screen a third larger in a chassis that's roughly the same size. It's also about three-quarters the thickness, and has a precisely-machined aluminum unibody chassis which comes in white as well as gray, unlike the Nexus 7's (slightly creaky) dark gray plastic case.
Somewhat worse screen
The iPad Mini has a sharper screen than last year's iPad 2, because it packs the same number of pixels (1024 x 768) into a smaller display. It's not as sharp as the Nexus 7's 1280 x 800 widescreen display, which can play back 720p movies at their native aspect ratio the same way the iPhone 5 can, but the iTunes store does have a better selection of movies.
Speaking of iTunes ...
The iPad Mini's biggest advantage is its superior selection of games, movies, books, and apps available through Apple's stores. Hundreds of thousands of apps have been made for iPad since its launch, and the iPad Mini can basically run all of them. In contrast, few Android games and apps are specifically made for tablets, and some Android smartphone apps (like Flickr's, and Amazon.com's shopping app) don't even run on the Nexus 7.
On the other hand, due to Apple's policy on in-app purchases you can't buy new Kindle or Nook books through their apps on an iPad. You have to use the web browser instead.
The iPad Mini comes in both white and gray models, whereas the Nexus 7 only comes in dark gray. And while the Nexus 7 only comes with 8 or 16 GB of flash memory, the iPad Mini starts at 16 GB and goes up to 64, although a 32 GB Nexus 7 model has been seen in the wild and is expected on retail store shelves soon.
There's no 3G / 4G wireless Internet option available for either yet. But Apple has announced that a 4G iPad Mini will be available in "mid-November", while Google is expected to unveil a new Nexus 7 model with 3G or 4G at an event next week.
Much higher price tag
The 8 GB Nexus 7 starts at $199, while the 16 GB model is $249 (and the 32 GB model is expected to replace it at that price point). The 16 GB iPad Mini, on the other hand, doesn't cost much less than last year's full-sized iPad 2, at $329. The addition of cellular networking and up to 64 GB of memory pushes its price tag up to $659, compared to a fully kitted-out full-sized iPad's $829 price.
The iPad Mini may not be the cheapest tablet. But when it goes up for preorder on Oct. 26, it'll be the cheapest way to get a new iPad.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
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