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Apple unveils iPad tablet computer

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010
News Categories: iPad

Apple today unveiled its new iPad, an iPhone OS-based slate tablet computer capable of running “almost all” of the apps available in the App Store, as well as new apps tailored specifically for the device. The iPad physically resembles an oversized iPod touch, with a 9.7-inch, 1024-by-768-pixel screen dominating the front and a black bezel surrounding it. The back is made from a solid piece of aluminum, with a 30-pin dock connector and speaker on the bottom, and volume, sleep/wake, and headphone ports around the other sides.

“iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”

Photos of the new iPad tablet computer can be found in our Flickr photostream. Also available is a standard 10-minute Apple iPad interface walkthrough video on YouTube, or watch a higher-resolution, 12-minute version of the video on Vimeo. We’ve posted a third version of the video in 720p HD on Vimeo!

The device runs an advanced version of iPhone OS that allows it to run most of the apps currently available on the App Store, as well as modified apps that take advantage of the higher-resolution screen. Non-optimized iPhone applications can be run as coded in a small box in the middle of the screen, or can be run in “2X” mode, with the iPad scaling their resolution up to match the larger screen. The slide to unlock screen remains largely unchanged, while the main home screen has been enhanced to offer user-selectable backgrounds and an OS X-like reflective dock for the bottom row of applications. In on-screen demos, apps have pop-up menus, resembling those on the iPhone, but enclosed in their own hovering boxes as to not obstruct the rest of the screen. The iPad also employs an on-screen QWERTY keyboard that is described as “almost life-sized,” and, as with the iPhone and iPod touch, most specialized applications work in both vertical and horizontal orientation.

The iPad will offer enhanced versions of apps controlling its music, photo, video, and mail features, with the music app now resembling iTunes more than ever, complete with a selection of playlists and Library selections off to one side and differing views in the main column. Similar upgrades to the photo, video—which now includes both standard- and hi-definition YouTube—and mail applications were also shown. Apple also announced iPad-specific versions of its iWork applications, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers, which are discussed more in-depth in a separate article. Also unique to the iPad is the new iBookstore, which offers a number of titles, both consumer and educational, all presented full-screen with page-turning animations and selectable font and size.

The iPad’s hardware includes the 9.7-inch IPS LED-backlit LCD display, an internal battery good for up to 10 hours of battery life, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 EDR wireless networking, a speaker, microphone, compass, accelerometer, and a custom 1GHz Apple A4 processor, which helps boost the battery life. Apple will be offering 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions of the iPad, both with and without microGSM 3G networking, for $499, $599, and $699, respectively, for the non-3G versions, and $629, $729, and $829, respectively, for 3G-enabled models. The 3G versions will support speeds up to 7.2 Mbps on HSDPA networks, and will also offer assisted GPS location capabilities. In addition, the company has worked out a deal with AT&T to offer no-contract 3G wireless data at the price of $15/month for up to 250MB of data, and unlimited data for $30 per month, either of which can be activated directly from the device. Wi-Fi-only models of the iPad will be available in 60 days, or at the end of March, while 3G-equipped models will be available in 90 days, or near the end of April.

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Comments

1

Very underwhelming.  I’m sure the device will look great and handle well, but I didn’t seem to hear anything “revolutionary” today.  What exactly does this device do that’s not already being done?  Was also hoping for a Verizon announcement.

Posted by DynaMix on January 27, 2010 at 1:02 PM (PDT)

2

The iPad looks a bit different then I thought it would be. It really looks like an oversized iPhone/Touch. Reading the live feed that Flash is still not available for web viewing is unbelievable and a deal breaker for me. It’s not worth the upgrade price to me, when my Touch can do most of what the iPad will do for my purposes. I don’t need to use the iBook/iPaper reader portion. I was really hoping for a full fledge mini computer with a full function web browser. Right now, iDontNeedIt and iDontWantIt.

Posted by Jim on January 27, 2010 at 1:10 PM (PDT)

3

I think the ‘smug value’ of having one of these at a meeting will probably be quite high, compared to the people lugging in a full laptop. But (as I have mentioned elsewhere) I want a camera! Video calls would seem to be a natural application for this device. However, I would guess that Apple has been ‘advised’ that letting everyone make video calls is a good way to crash mobile networks and upset everyone. I don’t think we have the mobile bandwidth yet, more’s the pity. Still, why not just allow it on wifi networks?

The price is pretty good- but what happened to the rumours of cloud storage? And 3D desktops? Hey-ho, I’m asking for the moon again, aren’t I smile

I’m tentatively interested, depending on how many books are available. And how it copes with MS Office documents.

Posted by Anna Beta on January 27, 2010 at 1:12 PM (PDT)

4

Yup, underwhelming is the only thing that comes to mind. A tablet computer with a max of 64GB storage for $700 and a max battery life of 10 hours? While I’m sure like everything Apple has done, it will be profitable, it’s a joke product and definitely not revolutionary (or even mildly evolutionary). It’s an overgrown iPod touch for twice the cost but with half the battery life and none of the convenience of fitting in your pocket.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 27, 2010 at 1:13 PM (PDT)

5

Wow. An announcement of a 120GB iPod Touch or an agreement with Verizon would’ve blown me away more than this tablet.

Posted by Chondog on January 27, 2010 at 1:19 PM (PDT)

6

It’s just a really large iTouch and I’m personally disappointed with such small storage capacity out of the gate.

But this is typical Apple - I’m sure they’ve got the next 3 hardware/technology/software updates already planned to make sure they squeeze the most out of this device.

There is no reason for this thing to not have memory expansion - except for Apple to add little applications/memory once a year and maintain a price point.

I love the concept, but won’t get one soon.  It’s lousy storage.

BTW, is it a glossy screen?  Do I get to keep cleaning the darn thing in order to erase my greasy finger smudges?

Posted by TechnoGeek on January 27, 2010 at 1:31 PM (PDT)

7

Well, I can see a niche market for this. No Flash is still blowing my mind. And how can they move to a device more than twice the size of the Touch, but offer the same max storage? This should be 32, 64, 128 at a MINIMUM! I like some of the potential here. But, like those before me, I am not impressed enough to jump on board. Maybe a year down the road when they have “enhanced” the features increased the storage.

Posted by Mitch on January 27, 2010 at 1:34 PM (PDT)

8

No GPS, No cam, No multitasking…I can do more on my iphone…this is step one…but a step backwards.  It is very expensive for what you get…and not a netbook killer.  Netbooks are popular because they can do the easy stuff well and a low price point…including video camera and multitasking.  This is not a low price point.

And you can bet that the good games for this will be in the $20 range…which at that point won’t make sense as I will add another $30 to buy a good PS3 or Wii game.  Besides, do you really want to be steering and flying a plan using the motion sensor at the airport with this thing…you will look like an idiot…but then again, if you buy this, you already are an idiot…you just probably don’t know it yet.

Posted by psyclone on January 27, 2010 at 1:39 PM (PDT)

9

Hey, look, its my iphone on steroids.

So, what can this thing do that my iphone cant?

It wouldnt be hard to add the “phone application” program. Furthermore, they could have added the camera/video accessory; I guess they will be added to iPad 2.0 and will need to pay an extra $$$ for it too.

Revolutionary?? more like just the fad.

Posted by Mark D on January 27, 2010 at 1:40 PM (PDT)

10

Personally I’m suprised they threw around terms like “revolutionary” yet it still syncs to a computer manually.  “Best experience viewing the web” yet no flash (which automatically makes it a worse experience than on a computer).  You shouldn’t be able to throw these kinds of words around without backing them up.  Perhaps it will do things better than current devices but I don’t see how it does anything new at all.  Those rumors about Steve Jobs saying “this would be the most important thing he’s ever done” simply CAN’T be true, can they?  How is this more important than revolutionizing the music industry or creating the iTunes store?

Posted by DynaMix on January 27, 2010 at 1:42 PM (PDT)

11

I was really impressed with a lot of what we saw today- the books app is really impressive, considering it’s a lot slicker than the Kindle, and for only a couple hundred more than Kindle’s current pricing, you get a lot more features.

Gaming, web browsing, apps, and iWork were all really neat. Yes, my iPod can already do a lot of this, but I HATE having to type anything on my iPod, and having a bigger screen where you can actually use your fingers is cool. Plus that dock keyboard was awesome.

I was disappointed that they’re still using AT&T, but it’s not that surprising. Everyone wants Verizon coverage, but Verizon turned down the iPhone to begin with. If things are going well with Apple and AT&T, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense for them to switch and go to their main competitor.

I’m not sure what you guys were expecting- the iPhone and iPod are pretty much mini tablets in and of themselves. If you’re happy with yours, great, don’t come and knock Apple for what they didn’t do. However, I think they did a lot considering they had to meet a bar that was already set high by their own products. Storage is decent, and the price is much lower than expected.

I’m not going to run out and buy a first-gen, but I’d definitely like to have one of these in the future.

Posted by Jamie on January 27, 2010 at 1:46 PM (PDT)

12

Did I miss something, it does not have a real web browser?

Posted by Brad on January 27, 2010 at 1:53 PM (PDT)

13

Jamie, I agree with most of what you said…it isn’t that thing doesn’t look cool, it’s that this device doesn’t bring anything new to the game…What were we expecting?  The answer is simply “something new.”  Not something “different” (a better Kindle) or something “updated” (new iWork).  Something new. 
You also mentioned “if things are going well with Apple and At&t…” and I think there are many who would argue things are not going well.  Just my .02

Posted by DynaMix on January 27, 2010 at 1:55 PM (PDT)

14

Why is it that I can buy a netbook with 1024x600 screen resolution, upwards of 14 hours of battery life, more than 200GB of storage, a full multi-tasked OS, roughly twice the processor speed, likely several times the RAM, and access to the vast majority of applications ever written, physical keyboard, more durable clamshell design, with a weight around 2.5 lbs and free online storage contract for well under $400, but when Apple releases *this*, media outlets jump all over themselves to reproduce quotes like involving “magical” and “revolutionary” when it’s anything but. No wonder Apple stock is up $3 today…

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 27, 2010 at 1:55 PM (PDT)

15

Interesting. I could see getting one of these for my husband, mostly for newspapers and books and casual web browsing. Lack of Flash support bothers me, though.

Posted by Aceon6 in New England, USA on January 27, 2010 at 2:00 PM (PDT)

16

I really don’t understand why everyone’s complaining.  It sounds like everyone wants the features that would basically make the product a laptop…which Apple already makes.  This is spot on perfect for what I wanted this to be.  I want to be able to read magazines, books, and video on a large sized screen.  I also want to play my music and play games on the go.  I actually DO want a “iPod on steroids.”  I could care less about the wireless capability and I definitely won’t buy the 3G model.  Apple nailed this for me.  I’m going to buy the low or mid range model and this will effectively be my new iPod going forward.

Posted by Chris on January 27, 2010 at 2:07 PM (PDT)

17

I think Apple is going to be working overtime on hyping this iPad. This thing is so grossly underwhelming and missing the mark by a long shot. Wow, I can look at the New York Times, but can’t I do that on my iPhone already? Ewww, I can listen to my music and look at album art differently, but can’t I do that on my iPhone alrady? I can read books, but can’t I do that on my iPhone already? I mean what is this thing supposed to do? Is it for those of us with astigmatism? You can’t even do video chat on it let along make a traditional phone call.

Posted by overblownunderwhelmed on January 27, 2010 at 2:07 PM (PDT)

18

I’m gutted. Major fail by Apple.

Posted by sprog on January 27, 2010 at 2:09 PM (PDT)

19

Well for the first time in 20+ years of using Macs, I was embarrassed for Steve.  My little Apple has fallen into the trap of continuously screwing it’s customers for every last dime they can.  It is so obvious that the pad is going to be re-released in phases to milk us users for every last dime before we get the tablet we really want with the capabilities we need.  Anyone who runs out to by the 1g Ipad is a chump who deserves to have to upgrade repeatedly for big $.  Wait for 4 months and you will be able to buy these in pawnshops for $100.  Can anyone say NEWTON!!!  History really does repeat itself.

Posted by Brad on January 27, 2010 at 2:32 PM (PDT)

20

I think the fact it doesn’t run “real” OS is a big drawback. I mean all the apps will have to go through AppStore and again the “useful” ones will be killed. You can watch movies? Oh, really? Except iTunes store doesn’t offer movies outside US so to watch a movie you need to convert your DVD or divx into .mov, and by the time you do that your plane has taken off and is half way to destination. I guess it’ll be like iPod Touch or iPhone, really locked device so even if you could instal VLC there still’d be no smooth way to transfer the file to the device. Same for pdfs. It’s a nightmare. Why can’t it just be SIMPLE?! Like drag, drop and read? While I’m at reading - who’s gonna read for hours on this glossy, bright screen? Kindle is so much better for that… except it won’t zoom the pdfs. I know Apple does not make any marketing research but for once they could ask what people would like the device to feature. I’d use it to read pdfs on the go, except I don’t want to spend hours transferring my files, I’d watch a movie on the go except I don’t want to spend hours converting between formats, I wouldn’t mind having flash for full web-browsing experience and if it’s supposed to hang around the house as a second “computer” I’d really like to be able to pick it up and use Skype or iChat with video!!! Meaning front facing camera. And 64Gb… well, sorry, but that’s ok for an iPod, not for something PRETENDING to be a lot more.

Posted by Piotr on January 27, 2010 at 2:33 PM (PDT)

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