First Look In Progress: Apple iPad (and TONS of new details to share) | iLounge Backstage

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First Look In Progress: Apple iPad (and TONS of new details to share)

You want impressions of Apple’s new iPad? We have impressions. They’re going to go here until we’ve had the time to build a proper First Look; we’re in the process of adding more now. Updated! The complete Apple iPad First Look with YouTube and HD Vimeo interface walkthrough videos is now online—this article has not been updated with the additional (over 45) photos, videos, and details, so go check out the final Apple iPad First Look.

The Big Concept. Apple’s iPad is designed to be a bridge device between the smartphone and the PC/Mac—a tablet-shaped computer that allows users to access data like the iPod touch and iPhone, including streamlined Safari web browser, e-mail, and iPhone OS applications, without providing voice calling functionality. The pitch is that it does a better job of presenting the web, photos, videos, and apps than a smartphone, due to the large 9.7” multi-touch screen, and makes them easier to use than on a computer because of the simplified touch interface.

The Big Gripes. Starting at $499, Apple’s iPad costs as much or more than a PC netbook computer and, apart from the multitouch interface, falls short in many other categories: storage capacity starts at a mere 16GB, no camera or videochat functionality is included, only a single device connector is integrated for charging, wired synchronization, and accessories, and the device’s apps and features feel more like stripped iPhone OS programs than powerful PC or Mac applications. It has no integrated stand for video viewing, and even when you’re using the on-screen virtual keyboard, you need to support it yourself unless you buy an accessory to hold it up. Either you “get” the idea that this device is supposed to be super simple, thin, and carry-friendly—like an iPhone or iPod touch, used in your lap or with one hand while standing up—or you see it as an overly stripped-down computer.

Different Versions, Capacities, and Confusion. There are two different versions of the iPad, each sold in three storage capacities: 16GB ($499/$629), 32GB ($599/$729), or 64GB ($699/$829). The lower price refers to a version that is wireless just like the iPod touch, only with 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR capabilities, while the higher priced versions add unlocked 3G wireless features for a $130 premium, plus the ongoing monthly cost of no-contract service. The iPad versions with 3G add a black plastic antenna stripe to the back of the otherwise aluminum casing, positioned near the top of the device immediately below the headphone port, microphone, and sleep/wake switch. Users can pay AT&T $15 per month for 250MB of data or $30 per month for “unlimited” data on the 3G versions. International data plans are not yet negotiated.

Screen and Body. If you want to look at the iPad completely objectively, there’s one fact you need to understand up front: sales pitch aside, it is in fact the equivalent of a big iPhone or iPod touch with a 9.7”, 1024x768 screen. Rumors and reports from sources aside, the screen’s old-fashioned aspect ratio, 132dpi detail level, and other characteristics are not groundbreaking or shocking. But the actual quality of the LED backlighting, the IPS screen technology, and the multi-touch responsiveness of the display are all essentially beyond reproach. The screen mightn’t be OLED, or ultra high-resolution, or widescreen like the new iMacs, yet it’s beautiful: strong, rich colors, great viewing angles, and of course, that glass top surface that makes everything glossy. It’s oleophobic, just like the iPhone 3GS, for reduced smearing. People are going to love watching videos on it, even if the aspect ratio could use a little tweaking in a future version of the device—not that it’ll actually get these tweaks for various reasons.

 

The body of the iPad is what we heard (very late in the process and with conflicting details) that Apple had shifted to: a design that looks just like the lid of a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, only smaller. On the top are a headphone port and tiny microphone hole, along with a small sleep/wake switch. The right hand side has volume buttons and a switch to mute the speaker, which is located on the bottom with three little mesh-covered grilles—odd—near the single Dock Connector. There’s nothing on the left-hand side of the unit, contradicting reports we’d heard that there would be a second Dock Connector for widescreen mounting of the iPad, like a computer screen. Apple appears to have hidden the 802.11n wireless antennas inside the Apple logo; the version with 3G antennas will differ visually from the 802.11 Wi-Fi only version in that it has an antenna stripe on the back like the iPhone’s, only at the top instead of the bottom, and not extending fully from one edge to the other.

Speaker. Apple’s built-in speaker didn’t have a prayer of competing with the volume level in the room where everyone was testing the iPads. You can feel the iPad vibrating when the speaker’s turned up. There was no application on the device for Voice Memos to make use of the microphone; it’s unclear at this point how exactly Apple intends users to make use of it. The Apple web site shows the 3G version of the device as being “data only,” not for making phone calls—obviously there’s no Phone app on the iPad right now—so it looks like it’ll be up to developers (such as Skype) to offer similar functionality.

Size, Weight, Battery, and Pack-Ins. iPad’s physical size is 9.56” (tall) by 7.47” (wide) by 0.5” (thick), and it weighs 1.5 pounds with Wi-Fi features, or 1.6 pounds with Wi-Fi and 3G. Only the Wi-Fi version was available to be held during the hands-on session after Apple’s event, and it felt very solid and substantial rather than flimsy—the weight is, in our view, not an issue in any way, shape, or form. It’s unclear how the iPad will stay cool, but the answer appears to be that its aluminum body will work as a heat sink, and the chips inside are essentially smartphone-class mobile processors that don’t give off as much heat or consume as much energy as laptop components.

iPad is packaged with a new 10-Watt Dock Connector-based power adapter and a USB Dock Connector cable like the ones used for iPods and iPhones since 2004. The battery is rated for 10 hours of Wi-Fi data or video viewing, with the same number for listening to music, however, it’s highly unclear as to whether the iPad will actually only achieve such limited music runtime if used solely for that purposes—not that this is likely.

UI. The user interface is obviously very familiar from the iPhone and iPod touch, but there’s going to be a little learning curve for some of the new features, and there are some questions as to how much of the software we saw—iPhone OS 3.2, incidentally, not 4.0—was just buggy rather than non-responsive. Almost everything we tried to do on the iPad was very fast—faster than the iPhone 3GS and current iPod touch despite pushing considerably more pixels—but there were buttons, screen rotations, and other features that didn’t seem to be working at all, or properly, during our tests. You’ll see this for yourself in our complete interface video, which we’re about to post for your viewing pleasure.

 

Turning the device on presents you with a slide to unlock screen and a new button that looks like a photo icon. Press it and you turn the iPad into a picture frame for displaying photos from your photo collection—the slideshow activates immediately after you press the button, without having to unlock the device. You can also choose a background image now for your home pages—a single image that remains the same when you switch between pages of apps. If there’s one disappointment in the iPad UI as-is, it’s that the apps and dock UI really hasn’t evolved as much as it should have from the iPhone: it’s just more space, with similar-looking icons, spread out. The one nice twist is that you can now navigate the home screens in tall or wide mode, and the icons reshuffle automatically to fill the screen. We wish (and hope) the iPhone could do this.

 

Apps. Expect a lot more in the detail department here soon, but here’s the skinny. Every one of the “old” apps feels a lot like the iPhone version in terms of simplicity and functionality, as if Apple used the iPhone and iPod touch apps as a base, but each has grown features that range from merely displaying prior “second screen” or pop-up content as an overlay, to now being able to do more—generally a little more—than they did before. The expanded calendar views are going to be key for people who do their social planning digitally, and the photo viewer, maps app, and video viewers are obviously benefitting a lot from the expanded real estate. That said, there was nothing revolutionary in any of the updated apps: they all were a step or two forward from the versions we’ve previously seen for the iPhone, some dating back to the 2007 launch of the device, and obviously, a number of apps—the calculator, weather, stocks, clock, voice memos, and compass apps, as a handful—have disappeared entirely from the device, presumably because Apple would be fine with you acquiring your own apps if you want them.

 

iBooks and the iBookstore. Apple has capitalized on its prior iBook laptop name for its eBook reader, which provides access to a fairly sophisticated book reading program built upon the popular (if old-fashioned) ePub standard. The reader provides users with a choice of five fonts and multiple font sizes to read their books in—unfortunately, neither of these features actually worked when we were trying to test the application, despite reloading the app a couple of times—and can also shift into widescreen or tall orientations to provide one- or two-page viewing options, making use of the full display. In tall orientation, you can actually use your fingers to turn a page so that you can preview the words on the next page, or just tap on the screen to change pages. Apple’s iBookstore is built into the iBooks app to let you buy new books, which appear automatically on a virtual bookshelf that rotates around on the screen like the entry to a secret passage in an old house. The features are slick, as is the paper-like texture applied to the screen behind the black words of the books to give them more of a “real book feel.”

But the iBooks app falls short of really bringing books forward into the 21st Century—they are basically the same black and white things you see on an Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook, only presented on Apple’s nicer color screen with little bits of extra shading. Nothing was said or shown about magazines or newspapers within the iBooks app; Apple instead demonstrated access to these publications via the Safari web browser and publication-developed apps (such as the New York Times app). Thus, Apple appears set to let individual publishers evolve their products through apps rather than ePub-format eBooks, and isn’t providing a special newspaper or magazine reader, or subscriptions, to push this forward. At least, yet.

More on Pricing, Capacities and Versions. The 16GB base capacity of the iPad almost seems like a joke, but like the very limited 8GB iPod touch, it’s clearly being produced as a “get them in the door” model with a super-attractive $499 price tag. This iPad will wind up being the one people buy for their kids, and the others will be the ones that power users buy—unless they wait for the inevitable second- and third-generation versions of the iPad to get in.

Regarding 3G/Wi-Fi, no one expected that Apple would actually charge more for the 3G version of the device—rather than going the subsidy route—or that there would be a no-contract way to make the service purchase. The approach that it took, namely offering 3G for those who want it, unlocked, at a $130 premium, seems like a fair compromise at a slightly higher price than it would optimally be offered at. The lack of an obvious tethering option for those who are already shelling out money for their iPhone service is a big miss, as well, but one that could possibly be addressed before launch. Here’s hoping.

 

 

Video Output Capabilities. The 1024x768 screen is just shy of natively displaying full 720p resolution for high-definition video, however, iPad is capable of playing 720p H.264 videos, with standard MPEG-4 videos capped at 640x480 like the current iPod and iPhone models. Output from the device to a TV appears to be capped at 480p/576p with audio, or 1024x768 output without audio if you use the new Dock Connector to VGA Adapter cable.

iPad Accessories. (Click here for more photos.) There’s a new VGA to Dock Connector Adapter ($29) for attaching the iPad to a projector or monitor; it outputs from the iPad at 1024x768 resolution without audio. Apple will also sell a Camera Accessory Kit ($29) that comes with a USB adapter and a SD card reader in one package, two separate pieces, to let the iPad import photos from a camera or SD card. There are two different docks: the Keyboard Dock ($69) has a normal keyboard grafted on to the front of a plastic dock; the function keys include shortcuts for adjusting brightness, accessing photos, search, volume levels and iPod music playback keys, returning to the home screen, and changing keyboard features. Apple offers a standard Dock ($29) with audio and dock connector ports on the back, with no keyboard. Bluetooth keyboards will also be supported on the iPad for those who want to use the wireless functionality instead.

And an Apple case ($39) made from plastic and microfiber, with a front flap that folds backwards to serve as a stand. Finally, there’s a new 10W power adapter that is included with the iPad or sold separately for $29; it uses a Dock Connector but obviously supplies more power than a typical USB port. There’s nothing amazing about any of these items, but they’re all coming; check out the article linked above and our Flickr photostream for more accessory photos.

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Comments

1

My biggest question about the iPad is can I connect my ergonomic keyboard via USB?

A secondary question is about GPS. Instead of GPS they’ve included a compass. Can they consider including a sextant as well to get full navigation capabilities?

Posted by elg on January 27, 2010 at 4:35 PM (CST)

2

Thanks for the levelheaded review.
I agree that the iPad amounts to an oversized iPhone and feel like it’d be a pleasure to use casually for web and photo browsing but have trouble seeing myself using on the go to augment my iPhone since carrying both seems like overkill.
The productivity apps also seem like a non-starter even with the keyboard dock or a bluetooth keyboard. Copy and pasting hyperlinks and photos into a Pages document, for instance, without built-in multitasking would be a tedious and I’d bolt to an iMac as soon as the multitouch magic wore off.
As a stepping stone into more natural form factored devices for sharing digital content the iPad is a go - and if someone were to give me one I’d probably use it every day.

Posted by Justin Freid on January 27, 2010 at 4:50 PM (CST)

3

Can you use the camera kit with an iPhone or iPod touch?

Posted by Sander Evers on January 27, 2010 at 4:56 PM (CST)

4

The point about the device not multi-tasking will change. I suspect Apple have deferred the announcement of this feature to when they include it in the iPhone, which will probably be what warrants a jump to 4.0 for the iPhone OS

Posted by Mike on January 27, 2010 at 5:27 PM (CST)

5

What I really want to know before I buy.  Will companies make accessories for this, such as an external hard drive, or a little camera you can plug in?

Posted by Stephen on January 27, 2010 at 5:45 PM (CST)

6

Imagine if th y had included a built-in camera? Take a photograph and instantly show an almost 8x10 photo. Why no camera?

Posted by Everyperson on January 27, 2010 at 6:04 PM (CST)

7

Something to think about in all this discussion.  The iPad is not just an overgrown iPhone.  Remember that Steve has a huge distaste for the complexity of computers and interfaces.  Hence the attempt at a “verb-less” GUI on the iPhone.  But the iPhone form factor prohibits major productivity tools and apps. 

What you are seeing with the iPad is the first real commercial example of a step forward in computer interfaces. The iWork apps and the demo of the painting app with their integrated contextual interactivity scheme can be seen as templates for the future of app development.

Think about it.  Anyone who has ever tried to coach their parents through the “first select the correct object THEN tell the computer what to do” dance knows that the original GUI metaphor is still often too complex for most people and too cumbersome for power users.  The iPad is not a big iPhone.  Rather, the iPhone was the stepping stone to the place where the iPad is going. And that is not just about form factor and screen layout,  it is all about direct interaction with content, so that the interface becomes invisible.

Posted by David Simmons on January 27, 2010 at 6:18 PM (CST)

8

I just know there will be a load of posts complaining that this is underwhelming, just an oversized iPod Touch, doesn’t have the highest-resolution display, etc. I agree, the hardware does seem kind of underwhelming considering the amount of hype that’s built up lately, but I’m still willing to bet this will be a very important and influential product.

It’s purpose isn’t to be a full-fledged tablet computer that can keep up with or outperform notebooks, or even appeal primarily to tech-heads, but to go after the mass market. True, it’s pretty expensive for that, but if anyone has shown an ability to sell fairly expensive products to the masses, it’s Apple. They seem to be intent on achieving the long-discussed “Information Appliance”, something that could at least partially displace PC’s by offering the functions most users care about in a simpler, more intuitive and streamlined form. There will be competition, and Apple has made and will make mistakes, but they’ve got high ambitions, and I think they stand a good chance of, if not achieving them single-handedly, at least starting the process.

Posted by Jerome on January 27, 2010 at 6:23 PM (CST)

9

Dissapointed. What the iPad should have is Mac OS X, a front cam (and an application: iMirror, can you imagine!), and at least one USB. I want to use it to sync my iPod/iPhone from the couch, to store my photos (hence the USB), transfer files to a USB stick, skype, etc. That way it should be really in between my iMac and iPod. Now it is merely at the same level as my ipod….

Posted by Niels Janssen on January 27, 2010 at 6:36 PM (CST)

10

I never understand the complaints about the price. As I recall, I bought the original 5GB iPod (in the Palo Alto Apple store :) for $400 or so. And I bought the first color screen iPod (with the tiny screen) for $500+. My first Mac Plus was $3K which is probably $5K in today’s dollars.

I wouldn’t buy this to use instead of my Macbook Air (which I adore BTW) as I need my work software when I travel (chiefly a text editor), but I would certainly get this to browse the web casually at home and play games. Shame about the lack of camera though, as video iChat conferences would seem a natural. Maybe in the 2G model.

My mom has a Macbook which she uses exclusively for email and Safari and a bit of Pages. With the external keyboard she could probably make due with this.

Thanks to iLounge for great analysis as usual. I look forward to the Vimeo!

Posted by Paul on January 27, 2010 at 6:42 PM (CST)

11

My only complaint is that it isn’t 1280 x 720 widescreen.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on January 27, 2010 at 6:51 PM (CST)

12

I think this opens a couple new revenue streams for apple including ebooks and ipad apps. It will also increase their market share in the computing industry. It is by no means revolutionary.  I think it is entry level into a nich market that I hope leads to what becomes a robust tablet computer that does not exist yet. I can see that down this could develop into that wonderful touch tablet. That is if apple decides to include multitasking, camera, video chat, video recording, faster chip with bigger memory, more ways to bring information (wireless scanning) or into the device and wireless ways to send information out via prephials such as printing wirelessly, multi tasking, and other stuff.
History with apple shows they develop to get people in the door than improve based on user feedback.

For now, I just don’t see the need for an iphone, this, and a laptop. I can’t justify paying the price for what it offers to have a bigger iphone to carry around. Especially, like with the iphone, apple will offer a newer version next year much improved.

It will be exciting to see where this goes. I just think apple missed the mark here. Yes, the technology is fantastic…too many functions missing to make it worth it.

Posted by Charles Silberman on January 27, 2010 at 7:29 PM (CST)

13

What’s the point of outputting the iPad at a 1024x768 resolution without audio? Is that adapter just for outputting photos then?

Posted by Jake on January 27, 2010 at 7:36 PM (CST)

14

a week or so ago, gizmodo showed some fictional UI for the rumored tablet. it has apps and hot areas that worked ergonomically with your thumbs- it was more a start to evolved ui for iphone.  i think apple should call that guy in and put a pile of cash in his lap and get that going for the first major software upgrade. i don’t like how it has iphone app buttons floating in grid form on a 10” screen - it seems rushed.

now the positive - the hardware itself seems off the races. screen size, multitouch, casing, even the bezel some gripe about all seem very thought out. my only spec advice is get an adapter that sends both audio and 720 video out! i bought a mini disply port to hdmi adapter for my macbook air and it doesn’t send out audio - after further reading i find out that apple currently cripples the audio in the mini display port! i hope they don’t do the same thing with the pad!

Posted by aw29 on January 27, 2010 at 8:41 PM (CST)

15

FLASH!

There was already a missing plugin snafu during the presentation. Just wait until people plunk down $900 for a web-browsing tablet, and find out that they can’t see half the web on it, because it doesn’t do Flash.

If there is no Flash capability by the time the iPad comes out, it will become the but of jokes very fast.

Posted by SamWise on January 27, 2010 at 9:25 PM (CST)

16

Wow, the 1024x768 resolution (a touch on the lowish size for this screen size) in a 4:3 aspect really seems a major botch, and one that’s going to be hard to change since they started with it. And from Apple, who so adamantly steered us all towards wide aspect ratios, it’s more than a little surprising.

Something like 1280x900 (roughly a 3:2 aspect like the iPhone and what pro photographers usually shoot, and enough to display native 720p widescreen video) would have been a huge improvement. I certainly would have paid extra to cover the extra cost involved as well, which I doubt would have been enormous. Really puzzling and disappointing decision IMO, and one that will probably force me to wait on it.

Posted by Nigel Tufnel on January 27, 2010 at 9:50 PM (CST)

17

No front camera. To me that’s the biggest miss, whichI really don’t understand. And Flash? Come on already. It’s bad enough not having it on the iPhone but on this device? I probably won’t buy one just because of these two reasons.

Posted by Max on January 27, 2010 at 9:55 PM (CST)

18

After reading this article; the ipad is underdevelop.  It has only 64GB of storage and has no connection ports - usbs.  I hope they start a second generation now; since this is not a good functional computer.  They should integrate a SSD in to it.  It has also Safari web browser which is very weak compare to FireFox or IE 8!

I will buy the 4G iPhone but skip this iPad until it is more functional.

Posted by Annoymous on January 27, 2010 at 10:01 PM (CST)

19

I don’t know this for certain but I’m fairly confident that the missing camera is more related to network issues than anything else.  There is certainly no hurdle inside Apple to being able to do it.  But you can bet that it would place a HEAVY load on ANY network.  The data traffic is going to be enough to contend with alone.  Look at how hard it has been for AT&T to keep up with what the iPhone singlehandedly did to their network traffic. 

I’m sure there will be a camera in it one day but Steve knows the networks will all be more robust a year from now, and he’s also created a killer reason to buy iPad 2.

Posted by David Simmons on January 27, 2010 at 10:21 PM (CST)

20

@Anonymous - I don’t think they can fit an SSD drive into a device only 1/2 an inch thick, can they? How thick are the drives? Oh well, I assume the next rev will offer a 128 GB option, and actually for many people I can totally see 16 GB being plenty.

Posted by Nigel Tufnel on January 27, 2010 at 10:21 PM (CST)

21

I have a lot of ebooks in pdf and word. Can I read them in Ibook? And how can I transfer those and all the data from my laptop… via itunes?

Posted by LuisE on January 27, 2010 at 10:27 PM (CST)

22

The iPhone app Stanza allows reading of epub and pdf files, and there is also a kinde app. I’m 100% sure both of these will be upsized to work in native def on the ipad.

Wide screen on a tablet device, to my mind, would create a more awkward shape to hold than 4:3, in portrait or landscape.

Using the adapter for video only: use the headphone jack for outputting sound…

Flash - i can live without. It a resource hog, and will be surpassed by h264 and H5 in the very near future.

I think that, like the iPhone, it will be the apps that make this a killer device, not just what Apple put into it. It will fit between my iPhone and iMac perfectly.

Posted by RichardM on January 27, 2010 at 11:53 PM (CST)

23

If it had a camera, iPad would do be capable of doing everything casual laptop users normally do as long as there is one desktop in the family to store personal files and perform some rare, but CPU heavy tasks. The touch interface is much more enjoyable than the usual keyboards in laptops. I don’t know whether iPad is going to sell well, but I think keyboardless interfaces on computers will be a lot more commonplace in the near future.

Posted by Tatil on January 28, 2010 at 12:29 AM (CST)

24

At first blush this device looks great but where is the Mobile Me sync?  I can’t believe that I will have to sync with a cable instead of the seamless sync of Mobile Me.

Posted by Mark B on January 28, 2010 at 3:15 AM (CST)

25

If it lacks Flash capabilities it would be a dealbreaker for me.

The lack of a camera is lame, but not a dealbreaker. Multitasking is also and issue, but also not crucial.

There are a bunch of Android tablet coming out, so the iPad will have a bit more serious competition than the first generation iPhone.

Posted by Toby on January 28, 2010 at 4:18 AM (CST)

26

I’ll probably stick with my iPod touch, simply because I can stick it in my shirt pocket, which means that I have it with me in more places - unless I really like the feel of typing on the iPad, in which case it might be a good alternative to a netbook.

I was a loyal palm user for 15 years (I like to keep PDA and phone separate for the most part). My move to the iPod was basically a PDA replacement. I actually type word documents on the touch once in a while, which might move me to the iPad for the larger keyboard, but otherwise I’m doing everything else I would likely do on a netbook, on the iTouch. If I’m going to bother dragging the external keyboard etc, as well as the oversized PDA, I might as well bring the laptop.

I held off for a long time getting an iTouch, complaining about this or that lack of feature, but when improvements went up and prices went down I caved - the iPad will probably follow the same path for me.

Posted by John S on January 28, 2010 at 4:37 AM (CST)

27

I believe this is a big innovation for the personal computer market. This IS the casual surf the web, look at photos/photo frame, hook up to tv and play games or watch movie or simply arrange today’s schedule machine.
The downside on all things that require a big interface is the size of the object has to scale with it. Thus if you want hi-def then you need something that’s big to see the difference. However science evolves on a day to day basis and so does technology. The ipod touch was a step into the future of pdas, following, the iPhone was the next step into easy lifestyle multitasking. Now the iPad will be the home/business device. It is simply there to make your life easier, if you have got money, the 3G is just trivial and I don’t believe anyone would have the desire of using a 10inch device to navigate anywhere. That’s why the iphone has a GPS not this device. The only reason it has a helped-GPS and a compass is so you can know where north a south is when showing your buddy where to find Starbucks so he can get some coffee while you prepare the lunch.
I believe that this device is, like the first iPod, like the first iPhone, a device made purely to show what possibilities you can have with a device like this. Further along the line Apple or some other company will produce the more innovative system. Apple is just placing the first stone.
I believe iPad will be a hit. I am going to buy it. Because yes I am rich and can afford this. The cost of this device is 2 days of work for me. So with one months salary I can buy 15 devices if I want to.
And no I don’t have a high salary.

Although the iPad is not perfect, it is a commercial device, and it is, to some, expensive. I believe that Apple and Steve Jobs are perfectly aware of what they are producing as the company only has one flop product each year.. «Magic Mouse» .

Posted by Japanese on January 28, 2010 at 7:29 AM (CST)

28

I believe the iPad and other products like it will sell very well and like the iPod will probably become the most important technology products of the decade. However, I refuse to worship the thing like many of it’s promoters.  It is only a tool and it definitely has it’s limitations.  (For example, nobody has mentioned how to easily transfer a Word document onto it.)  And if we’re to be honest, it really doesn’t do anything that we can’t do already with other devices.  It just makes some tasks easier and/or more efficient.  Which is what I believe the next season of invention should be focused on….making all of this technology we’ve developed easier to use and get out if what we need.  The human-computer interface is still pretty clunky and navigating the web can be even clunkier.  On a side note, I do hope that if parents are going to be giving these tablet devices to their kids, they REALLY need to monitor or filter the content their children have instantaneous access to.  I cringe at the thought of what children (and even adults) may already being exposed to in the age of free and prolific information. 

Flight777

Posted by Flight777 on January 28, 2010 at 11:07 AM (CST)

29

The VGA cable is obviously targeted more at using an external monitor as a secondary display than actually viewing video output. Further, there really wouldn’t be any way to pass an audio signal over a VGA connection, as that’s simply not supported.  Some enterprising third-party accessory maker might however be able to product a cable that could pass a VGA video signal alongside standard analog audio for those folks who want to hook their iPad up to their TVs with VGA input.

@24: Since this device runs iPhone OS, it’s pretty much assumed that MobileMe syncing will form part of the equation, at least to the same degree as is currently available on the iPhone and iPod touch.

@28: In terms of getting Word documents and other files on and off of the device, from what I’ve heard the iPad is going to offer a shared file storage area which will appear as a removable drive when connected to your computer, so you’ll likely be able to just drag and drop files in and out of that storage area.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on January 28, 2010 at 1:27 PM (CST)

30

I am wondering if the Camera Accessory Kit would allow for the connection of a USB web-cam and if the system could then be used with Skype. If this were possible it would be a decent replacement for a netbook.

Posted by John Aitcheson on January 28, 2010 at 2:14 PM (CST)

31

I think its just a swollen Ipod Touch for ppl with a swollen wallet. I would love to see and/or design an app for the Ipod touch that creates a normal sized keyboard on the table along with a nice sized screen via holographic projection..

Posted by Steven Young on January 28, 2010 at 2:18 PM (CST)

32

I’ve never owned an iPod or iPhone. I have a cell phone and a laptop and I don’t have a contract with AT&T. I don’t have any idea what this would do for me.  My laptop has over 300GB capacity. I have easily almost 50 gigs of pictures alone, not to mention music and applications (real apps mind you, not games). I have a keychain 16GB flash drive that cost me $40 and that’s the total amount in this $500 machine? You have to be kidding!  Do yourself a favor and spend $400 on an Acer laptop!

Posted by John on January 28, 2010 at 2:22 PM (CST)

33

@29,

The VGA adapter is targeted at presentations.  Most projectors have VGA ports and are 1024x768.  Just like the iPad.

As for audio, I’m guessing that you will still be able to use the headphone jack (3.5mm) to output audio while using the VGA adapter.  So all you would need is a VGA cable with the integrated audio wire.

Posted by ftaok on January 28, 2010 at 3:33 PM (CST)

34

I don’t think device lived up to the hype, but that’s not necessarily Apple’s fault.  I share the same disappointments as everyone else, with the most surprising to me being no flash support.  Really?! Still?!  That’s something that should already be in the iPhone; I can’t imagine what the hold up here is.  Although, I must admit, not seeing all the flash ads on some sites is a relief.  And honestly, I was expecting 2 cameras (or maybe one that could internally rotate), one that faced the user and the other that faced away.  I’m also surprised the “desktop” is exactly the same as the iPhone/iPod.  I thought the icons would be bigger or you could drag and drop them anywhere instead of forcing them to a grid.  I guess overall I was expecting more of a laptop with a stripped down version of Snow Leopard than a big iPod, but, that’s not the direction Apple took it.  I’ll be passing on this model, (unless they really drop the price), we’ll see about 2nd generation hardware.

@David Simmons.. I don’t have an iPhone nor get service from AT&T, so I have no personal experience with their network, but how long have people been video chatting now?  That shouldn’t be overly taxing on a network; certainly not with a broadband connection through wi-fi.

Posted by yano on January 28, 2010 at 3:52 PM (CST)

35

My concerns revolve around the real issue of cross-over functionality.

I want to be able to load Office:Mac and work on the fly. There really should be a camera. I want to be able to print. I want to be able to load outside files via USB connections.

Productivity is a vital requirement of any tablet. The fact that this device is an expanded iPhone/iTouch is great. Now let’s truly leverage the device and market as only Mac can.

Posted by Anthony on January 28, 2010 at 4:04 PM (CST)

36

Oh, and my last thought. I think this device needs to be able to display several eBook formats. And what about Bluetooth support?

Posted by Anthony on January 28, 2010 at 4:12 PM (CST)

37

I was going to buy a laptop or netbook with my tax return this year. I haven’t had a computer of any kind in forever (except at work). The netbook I was looking at sported portability, 1G memory and a $399.99 price tag. The laptop had a cd/dvd drive with more memory and longer battery life and was $799.99. All I really wanted this machine for was to write and get online for e-mail and information and store my pictures.
  At a starting price of $499.99 the 16G Ipad has more memory, better portability and doubles as an e-reader, which I also wanted but couldn’t quite afford. With the keyboard (which has the spaced/raised keys that I like) I think it will make a great writing tool. It will make a beautiful way to show off as well as store my pictures. I also love touch screen technology. I have a DSI which I love. I would have liked to get an Iphone but couldn’t afford the phone plan for it. This is the perfect solution for my Laptop/Netbook dilemma and I am defiantly planning on getting one when they come out. My only dilemma now is whether or not to spring for the 3G version.

Posted by Dianna on January 28, 2010 at 4:39 PM (CST)

38

Lots of folks are complaining that the iPad doesn’t have a camera. How many cameras do you need? You’ve already got one on your phone and you’ve got a digital camera. Every device doesn’t have to have everything. It also doesn’t have a rotisserie hot dog roaster (which I hope someone at Apple is working on!). The fact that it can’t multitask I think is its biggest flaw, but I remain hopeful that that will be addressed in future versions. It comes down to this for me: if you don’t have an iPhone and you were thinking of buying a laptop, this device bridges that gap at a competitive price. Plus, it’s cool as hell (except for lacking the hot dog roaster)!

Posted by Mitchismo on January 28, 2010 at 4:55 PM (CST)

39

I was really looking forward to a firewire port.  The music applications are very capable of making the Ipad a audio interface.  Fire wire is the best way for performance. Also a audio input jack would be very help full.  I could take my guitar and plug it in then record, anywhere.  I think Apple monitors my brain because 3 weeks before the publication of the Ipad, I thought it was time for the Itouch to turn into a tablet p.c.  I am stoked!  They should rethink and make sure they make this one well rounded.

Posted by Devin Hord on January 28, 2010 at 5:24 PM (CST)

40

I have a mac pro I started use mac and NEVER looked back towards windows but I have to say. Apple you need to stop making toys without listening to consumers this ipad is an Ijoke. Apple you will never be close to the top selling that P.O.S. it sounds like it has all outdated features it a PDA they are so 10 years ago. I thought it would be more like a one sided laptop. I would be buying any for my company.

Posted by Chas on January 28, 2010 at 6:19 PM (CST)

41

Oh well….I have read so many reports and they all encompass one thing…Thats it? I wish Apple hadn’t raised their bar so high, that they couldn’t reach it…Apple has always seen computer and software through a different lens than everyone else…this one was a little smudged. The i-pad is lacking in many areas we would expect to it excel and excels in a few we would like. I’m going to wait for VS 2 or 3 and hope I am surprised on what they are going to add.

Posted by Steve Anton on January 28, 2010 at 7:40 PM (CST)

42

People complain about the ipad not having things like a camera or low storage capacity. Remember, that is a strategy! The first wave of buyers are those who always have to have the latest and greatest. The second wave of buyers are the power users. The holdouts buy just before the next version comes out. Then Apple slip in an upgrade to the design, (that, coincidentally, was originally part of the marketing in the first place but removed to entice the first and second wave buyers back)

Posted by kilgo on January 28, 2010 at 9:24 PM (CST)

43

When schools adopt this it will revolutionize the whole education industry.

Imagine this: Never needing a bookbag again or even paper. Download all your books and manuals to this thing and then take notes in class with the keypad.

Very Green and very awesome.

Posted by Blaze on January 28, 2010 at 10:40 PM (CST)

44

While there will always be whingers who want a device that will do everything including making their morning cup of tea for them, for a price of $150, I for one am seriously considering buying one of these.

I have an iMac, and a Macbook Air, and this fits nicely in between for me. I have never been remotely tempted to buy an iPhone. My husband has one and likes it very much, but I find the small screen too fiddly, and to be honest, all I really want my phone to do is make phone calls. When I want to listen to music, I listen to my 5th generation iPod, which holds all of my CDs—about 50GB with room to spare.

The iPad is small enough to carry around in my handbag, but the size is still big enough to comfortably read and review reports and other long documents for my work, do any odd bits of email or internet checking, watch a film while travelling (something I have never been able to do on an Ipod without getting a headache), and any other odds and ends I might want to do.  I don’t care if it doesn’t have a phone: I’ve already got one. I don’t care if it doesn’t have OS: I’ve got that too. It will be invaluable for meetings and travel, and to me it sounds like the ideal compromise device.

Posted by Queen Dragon on January 29, 2010 at 1:22 AM (CST)

45

hope that soon enough, they will be able to modify the ipad to make it into a graphics pen tablet. which in turn could help so many photographers who are out in the field

Posted by markz on January 29, 2010 at 1:44 AM (CST)

46

Since the iPad OS is the iPhone OS, I read somewhere that you cannot download stuff like pdf documents off the internet. Is that true? (I don’t have an iPhone, so I have no idea if what is said is true). I like the concept behind the iPad, a lightweight minimalist computer just for reading and entertainment that I can use to while I am laying down and at leisure, so while at home I don’t have to open and boot up my larger and heavier Macbook Pro for these “lighter” tasks. But if it won’t allow me to download, store and read pdf files then that’s gonna be a dealbreaker.

The iPad may lack features, but I guess you’d have to appreciate that Apple was able to cram what it could into something that thin and with no fans and huge heat sinks (consider this—all the chips are inside what would otherwise just be a display on other computers). In this format, and with current technology, you probably wouldn’t be able to fit much more in.

Posted by hendra on January 29, 2010 at 6:47 AM (CST)

47

Camera?

On a tablet this size, people are asking for a camera? Why would you want to tote this around and take pictures with it. Same thing with the the music. You not going to jog with this thing are you?
Some gadgets are type specific. This is a sit-down gadget in my view. I’m going to be waiting to see if H.S & College book stores put out coarse books on this iPad. It would pay for itself if this happens.

=mv= in Oklahoma City

Posted by Migel Valadez on January 29, 2010 at 10:30 AM (CST)

48

Waiting for the next generation of IPad makes a lot of sense. If tyou don’t buy it now, it will force a new generation soon.

Posted by Robert on January 30, 2010 at 3:59 PM (CST)

49

Once you get past the fanboi hysteria, we find a device that needs a bunch of work to justify the cost.  No multi-tasking?  Are you kidding me?  What is this, a smartphone with a 4:3 screen?

While I would love to have a great tablet, this isn’t it.  Maybe gen 2 or 3…

Posted by Tc on January 30, 2010 at 10:33 PM (CST)

50

How to print from iworks on ipad??

Posted by chris on February 19, 2010 at 6:07 PM (CST)

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