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UPDATE: Apple announces new iPad mini

Apple Introduces Latest iPad

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPad mini during a special event at the historic California Theater Tuesday morning. The iPad mini is Apple's smaller version of the popular iPad tablet.

UPDATE: $329, for the 16GB WiFi-only version. Shipping early November. Pre-orders October 26. And it will have cellular capability.

UPDATE: It's the iPad mini. Apple has spoken. It's going to be 7.9 inches (the ipad Maxi is 9.7 inches — neat, huh?). Apple has also rolled out a new MacBook Pro, a new Mac mini, something about textbooks that seemed to greatly excite CEO Tim Cook, and a new iMac.

PREVIOUSLY: Apple is live-streaming today's much-anticipated but not exactly all that secretive reveal of the iPad mini. BUT the company is only livestreaming it through Apple's Safari browser! So switch now, Chrome and Firefox people! I'm not even sure what you Opera and Rockmelt folks are supposed to do. Explorer? Yeah...

If there is a big surprise in store, it could be that the iPad mini won't be called the iPad mini, but rather something like the "iPad Air," to ally it with the MacBook of the same name.

Does Apple really need a small version of the iPad, which after all defines the tablet market? A question for the ages. But there's no doubt that in the past few years – even as Apple has sold more than 80 million iPads since the device's introduction – the tablet market has become more crowded.

There's the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, as well as the original Kindle. There are all the Android tablets. And there's there's the new Microsoft Surface, which has seen a lot of consumer attention on pre-orders. Some of these tablets are priced in the same ballpark as the iPad. But some aren't. And that's where Apple's real challenge lies: to be able to do an Apple product, with all the requisite Apple-ness, at a lower price. Say, around $350.

We'll know soon. Stay tuned.

Video of Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller introducing the new Apple iPad Mini:

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