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10/26/2012
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Apple Kicks Off iPad Mini Preorders

Apple is now taking preorders for the iPad Mini. You can get a black, entry-level model for $329 and delivery on November 2.

iPad Mini Tablet: Visual Tour
iPad Mini Tablet: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Consumers interested in preordering the iPad Mini can now do so. It can be preordered directly from Apple's website. The Wi-Fi model ships first, with a delivery and in-store date of November 2. If you want LTE 4G, you'll have to wait until "mid-November" before the tablet will ship.

As of Friday morning, all versions of the black iPad Mini are still available for delivery on November 2. If you prefer white, you're out of luck. The initial stock of white Wi-Fi iPad Minis has been spoken for. New preorders for the white iPad Mini placed now won't ship for two weeks.

The preorders went live starting at one minute after midnight Pacific time. According to reports, the white model was sold out within 20 minutes. The iPad Mini will be available in Apple Retail Stores starting November 2.

Prices for the iPad Mini start at $329. This entry-level model has 16 GB of storage and Wi-Fi for internet access. The 32-GB Wi-Fi model costs $429 and the 64-GB model costs $529. As with older versions of the iPad, the Wi-Fi-only model lacks GPS, but has Bluetooth 4.0.

Adding LTE 4G to any of the iPad Mini models adds another $130 to the price. The 16-GB Wi-Fi+LTE model costs $459, the 32-GB Wi-Fi+LTE model costs $559, and the 64GB Wi-Fi+LTE model costs $659.

There are three different LTE models, each compatible with a different wireless network. As with the iPhone 5, the LTE iPad Mini can be used on AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Wireless's LTE networks. Each network operator has its own data plan offerings from which to choose. Entry-level pricing for LTE data plans is in the $10 to $25 range.

Of these three, Verizon Wireless's LTE network is the largest by far. It operates LTE in more than 400 markets around the country. AT&T's ranks second. It is available in about 65 markets, and will be available in 100 by the end of the year. Sprint's LTE network is far, far behind. It is live in just over 30 markets at the moment and won't catch up to AT&T--let alone Verizon Wireless--until the second half of 2013.

The iPad Mini features a 7.9-inch display, dual-core A5 processor, 5-megapixel iSight camera and 720p HD-capable FaceTime camera, dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, the Lightning port, and 10 hours of battery life.

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