At the company’s media event in San Jose on Tuesday morning, Apple’s senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller unveiled the all-new iPad Mini. After explaining everything the iPad Mini can do, Schiller announced that Apple planned to start selling a Wi-Fi version of the new device for $329, while an iPad with “cellular” capabilities started at the $459 price point.

No matter how you slice it, these are the smallest, cheapest, lightest and thinnest iPads available on the market.

We originally hoped Apple would need to price the iPad Mini at $249, while others, including 9 to 5 Mac’s Mark Gurman, pegged the entry price for the iPad Mini at $329.

“Two higher capacities of the smaller iPad will be available in the WiFi-only configuration,” Gurman wrote. “These will likely be priced at $100 premiums over each other at a minimum of $429 and $529. It is possible that this base price for the smaller iPad could be higher, but our best guess is $329.”

The iPad is a proven product. It's thin, light, powerful, intuitive and beautiful, much more so than any other tablet available. The iPad’s only major issue has been its high price of entry. By making the tablet smaller, one would think that the price ought to be shrunk down substantially as well.

By selling cellular versions of the iPad Mini, Apple could sell its new device at a broader range of prices, including a lower starting price and a higher high-end price. Many customers would opt for the Wi-Fi only models if cellular was too expensive for their taste, but many Apple customers would’ve purchased the highest-end models because they believe it provides the best overall experience. Apple likes to sell “the best products at every price point,” as CEO Tim Cook often says, but the company is essentially a luxury brand, and selling the finest possible product, one would think, would be more important than ensuring the highest iPad Mini price fits below the lowest iPad price.

While Apple is a luxury computer company, the iPad’s high economic threshold has forced many users to turn to competitively-priced tablets from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Now that Google’s finally gotten into the game with the Nexus 7, Apple needed to give customers a reason to prefer the iPad over its rivals. The iPad Mini’s price isn’t spectacular -- $249, or better yet $199, would have been a real jaw-dropper – but it’s getting there, and it ought to be enough to effectively suppress Apple’s tablet rivals for at least another 11 months.

Not only can it be held in one hand, but the iPad Mini is also incredibly thin and light. The iPad Mini is just 7.2mm thick – about a quarter thinner than the fourth-generation iPad -- and weighs just 0.68 pounds, which is more than 50 percent lighter than the newest iPad.

The iPad Mini is 7.9 inches diagonally, and features the same 1024 x 768 resolution of the iPad 2.

Compared to the Nexus 7 tablet, the iPad Mini has a 35 percent greater display area for anything, including watching videos or surfing the Web. When you remove the clutter and the hardware to just leave the screen, the iPad Mini is more than 50 percent larger than the Nexus 7’s browser display in portrait mode, and more than 67 percent larger than Google’s tablet in landscape.

Apple is accepting pre-orders for the iPad Mini this Friday, but the device will be released on Friday, Nov. 2. Apple will start selling the Wi-Fi model at $329 and a Wi-Fi + Cellular model at $459, both for 16GB. Apple will sell the iPad Mini for $429 and $559 for 32GB, and $529 and $659 for 64GB on the Wi-Fi and Cellular models, respectively.