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Yeah... New, small iPad. But what will it cost??

NEED TO KNOW
  • Apple debuts 'iPad Mini' on Tuesday, but plenty of questions remain
  • Reportedly costs about $195 to manufacture each one
  • Entry level expected to be WiFi-only, costs more for 3G/4G
Are you ready for a smaller iPad?

Ever looked at the sleek, slim iPad and just thought, "Ugh. What a brick."

Yeah, us neither. But it could happen by Tuesday afternoon, when Apple debuts its latest, latest must-have gadget, the (presumably named) iPad Mini.

Already entering a crowded space of tablets in the seven-inch range which includes the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD, the thinking is that Apple will have to come down a good ways in price from its $499 entry-level for the new iPad to compete with the other tablets, which begin at $199.

Right now, most price rumors indicate Apple is willing to go pretty low. But just not Google-Amazon type of "low".

Whoa: Steve Jobs never wanted a smaller iPad

The most commonly cited numbers fall somewhere in the $250-$350 range for the tablet, which is about 3/4 the size of a standard iPad.

A financial analyst who recently toured Apple's production facilities in Taiwan emailed clients that "We expect the "iPad Mini" to begin at a price point of $250-$300." By the way, "iPad Mini" is in quotations because Apple has yet to release the device's name -- or even, for that matter, confirmation that any such device even exists.

The Mini might be served up at the low end of that range, according to a purported leaked price chart which was posted last week on a German blog. It has the entry-level 8 GB, WiFi-only tablet priced at $250. The entry level with cellular connectivity (i.e., 3G or 4G) is $100 more at $350.

Then you have 9to5Mac.com, which writes its sources have the price at $329, with $100 hikes for each higher storage capacity. At that price, it'd sit between the $299 Touch and the $399 entry level iPad 2. CNet reports Apple is spending about $195 to manufacture each Mini.

More hype: New Apple event replaced by newer Apple event

So what will your $250 or $329 or, oh, $299 get you? The iPad Mini is expected to be 7.85 inches, which according to that analyst in Taiwan, fit easily into his jacket pocket. It's also expected to have two cameras but will not pack the Retina display Apple has packed into the iPhone 5 and latest iPad.

The storage levels will be 8, 16, 32 and 64 GB, though you may find yourself quickly running out of space on that 8 GB model. Fortune reports the tablet's basic operating software alone will fill almost all of that up.

The other key thing is cellular connectivity is not standard; it's WiFi-only, as referenced above, unless you shell out $100 more for the ability to hook-up to 3G or 4G LTE.

And if all this wizbang gadget fun still isn't enough for you, Microsoft will begin selling its iPad competitor, Surface, on Friday -- one day after they debut the tablet-friendly Windows 8.

Follow Jonathan Anker on Twitter @JonFromHLN

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