At the company’s media event on Tuesday, Apple unveiled the iPad Mini in front of a packed audience sitting in San Jose’s luxurious California Theatre. After detailing the tablet’s many features, specs and abilities, the company announced that the mini tablet will be released on Friday, Nov. 2.

“Earlier this year we announced an iPad with a beautiful Retina Display, and it went on to become the best-selling tablet in the world,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We’ve got some really cool stuff to show you.”

We had actually predicted the iPad Mini’s Nov. 2 release date back on Oct. 16, explaining that Apple needed enough time to build hype for the product before its public launch, but also needed to avoid Microsoft’s big week this week, which sees the launch of Windows 8 and the company’s first-ever tablet, the 10.6-inch Surface.

Apple has historically released new iDevices on the Friday morning nine days after a Wednesday unveiling event; even though today’s media event fell on a Tuesday, it looks like Apple decided to wait a full 10 days to build hype around the product before releasing it to the masses.

“Just half a year ago we introduced the third-generation iPad with its Retina Display,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of marketing. “That’s why it’s even more amazing that we’re here today to announce the fourth-generation iPad.”

After revealing the fourth-generation iPad, Apple unveiled the iPad Mini.

“I think you all know what this is,” Phil Schiller said. “This isn’t a shrunken-down iPad, this is a completely new design.”

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.