Apple iPad Mini liveblog

Don your party hats, for iPad Mini day is here at last. Join us here for our liveblog where you'll get all the action delivered straight to your screens, courtesy of our man in San Jose

After months of rumours littered with leaks and speculation, the day has finally come for Tim Cook to step out on stage and reveal the iPad Mini in all its miniature glory. Will it be cheap enough to compete with the likes of the Google Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD? Join us at the time below while we relay the action live from the front lines in San Jose.

In the meantime, check out our iPad Mini rumour roundup for all the latest rumours and our thoughts on what you can expect to say at Apple's iPad Mini event.

UPDATE: AND WE'RE LIVE...

Updates will appear at the bottom. Scroll down to see new posts.

17:57 We're in and the California Theatre is buzzing – and totally packed out. Just had Grizzly Bear on the stereo.

17:58 Sit down there at the front! There's just minutes left until this show gets on the road...

18:00 Tim Cook's on. Nice blue shirt, smart shoes. He's talking iPhone 5 – it sold 5m units in the first weekend, making it the fastest-selling phone in history. Oof!

18:01 We're watching an Apple Retail video. Yes, another one.

18:03 The vid is all about iPhone 5 launch day. Queues, high-fives, people cheering – you know the drill.

18:04 People who frequent Apple Stores seem very outgoing.

18:05 Tim's back. He's talking iPods – the new Nano and Touch. Over three million sold already.

18:07 And now on to iOS 6 – since launch a month ago, there are now 200 million iOS 6 devices, the fastest upgrade rate of any software in history.

18:08 So far, this is all a recap – although some of the figures are astounding. 300bn iMessages have been sent, at a current rate of 28,000 per second.

18:09 Next up is the App Store. There are 275,000 iPad apps: "These apps are not stretched-out smartphone apps," says TC.

18:10 A total of 35bn apps have been downloaded from the App Store so far – that's five for every man, woman and child on earth, give or take.

18:12 There are 1.5 million books in iBooks, 400m books have been downloaded so far.

18:13 New iBooks is launching today, with a continuous scrolling nav – instead of turning pages, you just scroll down the page. Like in Biblical times.

18:14 A focus on books, eh? Might that be a drum roll for an exciting new reading device? (Yes.)

18:14 Now Tim's talking Mac. Macs are both the number one desktop and laptop in the US. New Macs incoming?

18:15 "We are not standing still," says Tim. He's introducing hardware man Phil Schiller to the stage. People love Phil – these guys are going crazy.

18:16 "Today is a very big day for the Mac," says Phil.

18:17 The number one selling MacBook is the 13in MacBook Pro. Have you lot not seen the MacBook Air?

18:18 "We're going to introduce something so much better" – it's the new 13in MacBook Pro.

18:19 It's 20 per cent thinner and a pound lighter than the previous generation – 0.75in, 3.5lb. It's also got a Retina Display! HDMI and dual USB 3.0, 2560x1600 screen. That's over 4MP.

18:20 ...but no optical drive. That's been lost, just as it was on the 15in Retina MacBook Pro. It's the world's 2nd highest resolution notebook display – the highest is the 15-incher's.

18:21 All storage is SSD, and graphics are provided by Intel's HD 4000. That's okay, but this is no gaming powerhouse.

18:22 It starts at US$1699, which nets you a 2.5GHz dual-core, 8GB RAM and 128GB Flash drive. Not cheap.

18:24 But it looks beautiful. Fingers crossed we can get a hands-on shortly.

18:25 Next up – the Mac Mini. "You knew there'd be something called Mini in this presentation," jokes Phil. Oh, Phil, you wag!

18:26 It's been updated with Ivy Bridge i5 and i7 chips, starting at $599 for dual-core with a 500GB hard disk.

18:27 Now, iMac: the next generation. Ooh, now that's nice.

18:28 From the front it looks much the same, but from the side it's ludicrously thin. The crowd's been clapping solidly for 30 seconds.

18:29 Phil says, "This is the most beautiful Mac we have ever made." We're inclined to agree. Where does the computer fit?

18:30 The edge is 5mm thick – 80 per cent thinner than the seventh-gen iMac. The body is assembled using 'friction stir welding'. Apparently that makes it totally seamless.

18:31 How's it so much thinner? The screen is 5mm thinner and there's no air gap between the front glass and the screen (in other words, fully laminated). The resolutions remain the same – 1920x1080 for the 21in, and 2560x1600 for the 27in.

18:33 It's also 8lbs lighter than the previous generation. Despite the thinness, it packs Nvidia discrete graphics, up to 3TB of storage and quad-core Ivy Bridge chips. I/O-wise, you get four USB3.0s, dual Thunderbolt ports. But no optical drive. Yep, that's gone.

18:36 New today also is the Fusion Drive which combines a 128GB SSD with 1TB or 3TB of hard disk storage. Not new, but it's clever – especially as the OS automatically assigns programs to the storage that best suits it. The result is apparently almost as quick as a pure SSD.

18:37 "For those of you that are stuck in the past, yes, you can get an optical drive," says Phil. Mee-ow...

18:38 It apparently also uses 50 per cent less energy than the previous generation when idling.

18:39 Tim's back – and he's talking iPad. "Last week we sold our 100 millionth iPad – that's 100million is two and a half years."

18:40 "We sold more iPads in Q2 than any other company sold of their whole PC product line." Blimey.

18:41 Ninety-one per cent of web traffic share goes to iPads – just nine per cent goes on all the Android tabs in the world.

18:42 Why? "People love their iPads" says Tim. Well, duh.

18:44 A chap called Dr James Ponce says "The iPad has been a real game-changer in Education." So now we're talking about iBooks Textbooks. Apparently they cover 80 per cent of the US school curriculum. Saved By The Bell would have been so much different if it were set today.

18:46 Books are getting much more interactive courtesy of iBooks Author on the Mac App Store – you can embed widgets and nice-looking formulae.

18:47 Apparently businesses like iPads too – 94 per cent of Fortune 500 companies are using them or testing them already. Didn't we hear that fact at another launch?

18:48 "We're not taking our foot off the gas – we've got some really cool stuff to show you" says Tim. And now, here's harware man Phil. (That means hardware's coming). "We're talking about the 4th gen iPad." Now that's a shock!

18:49 It's got the A6X in it – twice as fast for processing, twice as fast graphics – and new image processing. Same 10 hour battery.

18:50 Facetime camera goes to 720p, Wi-Fi is apparently up to twice as fas and the connector is, of couse, Lightning.

18:51 The Retina Display stays – but that extra power should mean you can do much more with it. Pricing stays the same. We're slightly pumped.

18:52 And here's the iPad Mini. The crowd's whooping. It has a very thin bezel, doesn't it? "This is iPad Mini."

18:53 "This isn't just a shrunken down iPad." It looks very, very thin, and Phil's holding it in one hand.

18:54 0.68lbs, 7.2mm thick, 53 per cent lighter than the iPad 4. To be clear, there's a new iPad 4 (or 4th gen iPad) and an iPad Mini. The black one is anodised all over – and looks awesome. "It's capable of running all the software made for iPad" – so nothing's redesigned for the smaller screen.

18:55 The screen is 1024x768 and 7.9in – same resolution as the iPad 2. That's not as crisp as the iPad 3's (or 4's). It's almost all screen – around the sides the bezel almost disappears.

18:57 There's a pic of it next to the Nexus 7, and they're almost the same size – despite the iPad's extra screen space. The Nexus 7 has 21.9sq in of screen space vs 29.6sq in the iPad Mini.

18:58 Because of the layout of the browser, you apparently get 67 per cent more screen to surf the web on – although Phil neglects to mention that you can change your browser on the Nexus 7.

18:59 Specs include an Apple A5 chip, FaceTime HD front cam, 5MP rear camera, 4G LTE connectivity and dual-band Wi-Fi, plus the Ligtning connector.

19:01 So, the Nexus 7 is more powerful on paper – but this should be as slick as an iPad 2.

19:02 Battery life is up to 10 hours. We're guessing at US$249...

19:03 Jony Ive: "This is a concentration of, not a reduction of the orginal". Erm, yes Jony.

19:04 Like the iPhone 5, it has a diamond-cut chamfered edge. Chips ahoy!

19:05 There's also a new three-fold Smart Cover to keep it safe. "Every inch an iPad" is the tagline.

19:06 Starts with 16GB Wi-Fi at US$329. Ooh – is that expensive? Certainly a little more than we expected.

19:07 Top spec 64GB Wi-Fi + 4G will set you back US$629. Pre-ordrs start this Friday (26th), ships the week after.

19:08 Nexus 7 is US$249 for the 16GB version, a full US$80 less. But by the looks of it, you get something rather nice for your money.

19:10 Tim Cook takes the stage. This is the wrap up. The iPad 3 has dropped off the product line, ditched for the iPad 4 (or as Apple likes to call is, iPad with Retina Display).

19:12 Time for a hands-on - see you on the other side.

That's all, folks. We'll see you soon with some hands-on impressions.

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