Phil Schiller, head of marketing for Apple, introduced the long-awaited iPad Mini. The device is small enough to hold in one hand, as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper, Schiller said. It's 7.2-mm thick, with a 7.9-inch screen. The regular iPad is 9.7 inches.
"I like how small it is because I could put it in my purse," said Shantrice Miles of Pasadena.
During the announcement, Schiller compared the iPad Mini to the Nexus 7 tablet.
"Others have tried to make tablets smaller than the iPad, but they have failed miserably," Schiller said, adding that the Nexus 7 is thicker and heavier. "You can see a huge difference."
But the price is much bigger than most experts thought it would be. The new device starts with 16GB of memory of $329, and up to $659 for the WiFi and cellular version with 64GB of memory.
The event at the California Theatre came a few days before Microsoft Corp. starts selling a new version of its Windows operating system, one designed to work well on both traditional computers and tablets. Microsoft is also releasing its own tablet, the Surface, on Friday. It will be slightly larger than the full-sized iPad.
Schiller also announced the released of the fourth generation iPad. It is an update to the third-generation device that went on sale in March, and it promises a faster processing chip and faster wireless Wi-Fi connectivity.
The new iPad will also sport the new connector that Apple unveiled with the new iPhone 5 last month. Apple says the new connector helps the company keep up with modern times, but it also requires consumers to buy new accessories or an adapter. Prices remain the same, starting at $499.
Pre-order for both devices begins on Friday and will ship on Nov. 2.
"This has been a truly prolific year for innovation for Apple," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Also announced at the event was the release of a new 13.3-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display, a new iMac and a Mac Mini.
The new version of the MacBook Pro adds the sharper display and is thinner and lighter than the regular MacBook Pro. The starting price is $1,699.
"In typical Apple fashion, we are going to take our best product and introduce something better and much cooler," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.