As Phil Schiller poured over the iPad Mini's features during yesterday's press event, the one spec everyone was waiting to hear was price. Would Apple really go head-to-head with the other seven-inch competitors by charging less or the same amount of dough? The answer was no. Apple's iPad Mini, the company's CMO announced, would start at $329. 

For those looking to buy a small tablet, that presents a few problems. Should they go with the Google Nexus 7 or the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, both of which start at $199. Sure, their screens are smaller than the iPad Mini's 7.9-inch display, and they're thicker and heavier, but is that .9-inches. and two to three ounces worth $129? Apple certainly thinks so. 

When asked by Reuters if the iPad Mini's price would "make it too expensive for some cost-conscious shoppers," Schiller said what you'd expect him to say: No. 

"The iPad is far and away the most successful product in its category. The most affordable product we've made so far was $399 and people were choosing that over those devices," Schiller said.

"And now you can get a device that's even more affordable at $329 in this great new form, and I think a lot of customers are going to be very excited about that," Schiller said.

Apple had no real threats with its 9.7-inch iPad, but the smaller Mini faces stiff competition from Google's Nexus 7 which has a better display (1,280x800 pixels, 216ppi), and Amazon, which has the Kindle Fire HD sporting a better display (7-inch, 1,280x800 pixels, 216ppi), faster processor, and better battery life (10 hrs, 37 mins). 

Looks like we finally have real tablet war. 

[via Reuters]