iPad Mini 3: Release date, price & specs

Apple has confirmed the forthcoming release of the iPad Mini 3, with pre-orders starting on 17 October

The iPad Mini 3 release date has been confirmed, with Apple announcing that pre-orders for the device will open on 17 October, with devices due to ship next week.

Pricing for the iPad Mini 3 starts at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model, jumping to $499 for 64GB and $599 for 128GB.

The tablet has a 7.9-inch Retina display, 5MP iSight camera, 1080p HD video recording, FaceTime HD camera, 802.11n with MIMO and Touch ID.

A recent YouGov/FeedHenry survey of 1,164 people found that Touch ID - which Apple have been eager to include in all new devices - was only important to 10 per cent of respondents for professional use, and just five per cent for personal use.

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Weight, the camera, Touch ID and screen size were the least important features to professionals according to the survey, with data/memory storage, the most recent operating system and battery life the most important.

Apple will undoubtedly be hoping for a repeat of the uptick in tablet sales the previous iterations of the iPad mini have resulted in, as the first generation device ended up accounting for 60 per cent of the firm's Q1 2013 tablet sales in the wake of its release at the end of 2012.

News of dormant tablet sales have circulated recently, resulting from the fact that users tend to keep their tablets for longer than phones.

uSwitch telecoms expert Ernest Doku said of Apple's smaller tablet release following the event: "The iPad Mini 3 might have been introduced as a more affordable afterthought but, by not phasing out any of the earlier models, Apple has instantly created a broader range of tablets to suit all price points and budgets - a bit like Samsung."

Confirmation of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3's existence was leaked through an iOS 8 user guide on iTunes Wednesday night, ahead of its official launch, with images of the two devices seemingly confirming rumours that they would both be announced during the launch event.

The images showed that the smaller iPad will have a Touch ID home button and a 7.9-inch display, and it is assumed that the tablet would sport an upgraded A8 processor.

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The leak' established the tablet as the iPad Mini 3, which it has been widely referred to as, but previous speculation threw the name iPad Mini Air' into the ring. This fits with the company's previous pattern of naming the iPad Air and MacBook Air.

It was previously rumoured that Apple would announce its new batch of iPads at its September event, but the company chose instead to launch the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch.

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