The first iPad mini reviews hit the web on Tuesday, and as expected, many award high marks for the tablet's build quality and components, but warn the price and lower resolution screen may be deal-breakers for some.
A number of iPad mini buyers who purchased a Smart Cover for their device have already received the accessory, offering an early glimpse at what to expect when the mid-size Apple tablet launches on Friday.
Google on Monday introduced a new Nexus 4 smartphone to take on Apple's iPhone 5, a 10-inch iPad competitor named the Nexus 10, and launched a new version of its Nexus 7 tablet with cellular data connectivity.
While some investors are concerned about Apple's reduced margins in the face of multiple new product launches, one analyst has noted that Apple's margins previously took a hit following the iPhone 4 launch, and subsequently rebounded to new heights.
As Apple sold out of its launch inventory of all iPad mini models, online retailer Amazon made a direct assault on the new 7.9-inch tablet, with a large ad on its front page saying the Kindle Fire HD offers "much more for much less."
After just 35 hours of preorder availability, Apple's online store on Saturday showed stock outs of the 16GB Wi-Fi only black and slate iPad mini, with the entry-level tablet joining all white and silver models which quickly sold out on launch day.
After Windows 8 debuted on Thursday, Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky offered his view of the computing landscape, and said PCs represent a great value when compared to "recreational tablets," alluding to Apple's new iPad mini.
Apple's aggressive strategy of abandoning legacy hardware like spinning disc drives and hard drives helps set it apart from competitors who are "afraid" to streamline their products, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller believes.
Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller has publicly come to the defense of the $329 entry price of the iPad mini, saying he believes customers are willing to pay for quality that rivals like Amazon and Google don't offer.
Though the starting price of the iPad mini is higher than many had expected, Wall Street analysts believe the storage capacity and build quality offered by Apple will be more than enough to court consumers and make the product a success.
Even before Apple opens its virtual doors to iPad mini preorders, one analyst claims low yield rates from the company's display makers could put the tablet in short supply ahead of the lucrative holiday shopping season.
It was announced on Tuesday that the new iPad mini is compatible with Apple's Siri voice recognizing assistant, however owners of the now long-in-the-tooth iPad 2 still won't be able to access the feature.