Apple unveils iPad tablet computer | iLounge News

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Apple unveils iPad tablet computer

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.

« Apple announces iBookstore for iPad

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Comments

41

@Code Monkey: In all honesty, I expect that, like the original iPhone, the price for subsequent models will probably come down.  Regardless, however, I don’t think the $500 cost of entry is entirely unreasonable for the non-techie crowd when compared to the price of an actual laptop.

Some people do not need the extra capabilities or complexities of using a laptop computer, and this device is going to appeal to those folks who just want to handle media, web surfing and e-mail with minimal fuss.

Further, let’s not kid ourselves by suggesting that a $250 netbook is a comparable option in terms of actual horsepower for doing things like handling HD video playback, so if you’re looking for a laptop with comparable media functions you’re going to be in the same general price range.  At that point, it comes down to a decision between an actual laptop computer (running Windows or Linux) or a much simpler device that handles fewer tasks extremely well and with a minimal of fuss.

I’ve never used a netbook that has anywhere near the horsepower to do much more than basic web surfing, e-mail, writing and photo uploading. However, if that were the space that I was in, I’d happily pay a $300-$400 premium for a device that also adds excellent media features to the mix and doesn’t force me to deal with the capriciousness of Windows or Linux.

In my case, however, even the iPad really wouldn’t even begin to meet my actual needs, and this device has zero chance of replacing my MacBook Air.  My needs, however, are inherently far more high-end than those of the average user.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on January 27, 2010 at 5:55 PM (CST)

42

What a let down.

An Amazon kindle seems more useful.

Posted by Hilton on January 27, 2010 at 5:56 PM (CST)

43

Most of you are entirely off-base as to why the ‘iPod Touch- or iPhone-on-Steroids’ approach was the wrong way to go.  Essentially, what I think Apple wants to do and what I believe they have done very well was introduce a device more able to share apps and media in a very presentable easy-to-understand device (this being the #1 reason Apple chose the ‘Touch-on-Steroids’ form and functionality.)

Hype has swallowed you all whole and you’re wallowing in the gastric juices of disappointment because hype blogs like MacRumors and Gizmodo have torn you from what was ‘real’ in the first place.  Literally every thought you have had about the iPad was merely speculation from ‘experts’ in the field.  It hurts to be brought back to reality, doesn’t it?  I’m definitely not saying that I’m not a little disappointed.  But I have a lot of hope for the future.

Since these devices are a new fad, wouldn’t it make sense for Apple to release, at first, a device that functions very well and isn’t all too different from what we already know?  And furthermore, with the still blazing fast development of high technology mobile computers do you really expect this really to be all there is in store for the iPad in the next few years?  With an optimistic outlook I can see the iPad become so much more by the 3rd generation.  And why should we have to wait?  Apple, I don’t think, would want to release anything too different from what we already know to gauge consumer interest in a 3rd-class device.  The future of the iPad and the inevitable dream device iPad coming to fruition are all up to the consumer, and that is most likely you.  If you really want a revolution, buy the damn thing or hope everybody else does and hope for the best.  I don’t think in the long run Apple wants to disappoint anybody with the iPad.  The revolution will come if tablet PCs catch on.

Look at the first generation iPod.  Now look to the Touch.  I expect as much of a leap beween the iPad G1 and G3 as there was between the iPod G1 and iPod Touch in terms of UI and interaction.

Furthermore, the storage capacity is perfect.  Especially with the $499 price point, I think this will appeal to the older crowd and just 8 GB for books would be about right for an older crowd.  Or children.  And have we forgotten that iPhone and Touch Apps are already incredibly small compared to most Mac OS X fare?  8 GB would be plenty.  I have a hard time filling my 8 GB Touch and I have over 30 GB of music.  The need to put your entire music library on a device like this seems unneeded, really.  So with selective manual syncing of what you would most like to hear, and small apps, there will still be plenty of space on a 16 GB iPad.

That said, I am mostly disappointed by the lack of USB and Firewire input, due to the fact that I was really hoping for some all-touch version of Live or Record to come out on the iPad.  Even then, there will definitely be some Technic-compatible software coming to the iPad I think, and hopefully some software version of KORGs KAOSS pad or a real for-consumer build of the Reactable.  In terms of music creation and manipulation, the iPad just might be perfect by the iPad G3 if we get to see USB and Firewire come into the picture.

Posted by Darby on January 27, 2010 at 6:05 PM (CST)

44

“Further, let’s not kid ourselves by suggesting that a $250 netbook is a comparable option in terms of actual horsepower for doing things like handling HD video playback, so if you’re looking for a laptop with comparable media functions you’re going to be in the same general price range.”

I categorically reject that. A $250 netbook is more than the equal of *this* product for watching video. I’d wager your average $250 netbook is far superior to this overgrown iPod touch that will probably have about the equal of my nano’s battery life when watching video on it.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 27, 2010 at 6:06 PM (CST)

45

My dream regarding the iPad was to have something that would make my Wacom tablet obsolete. I was hoping for some kind of Macbook/iPhone hybrid, with the ability to draw/paint on Photoshop (Wacom has tablets that do have screen capabilities, but those run in the several thousands range).

I was also expecting something that could act as a second storage device for my itunes library, so that I could do basic syncs with my ipod (or iphone) while on vacation.

I’m still not sold on the whole eBook craze as well(music because it’s aural I’m okay with, but I rather prefer paper-against-skin contact).

The ability to do word processing and the ‘Brushes’ app did excite me, but I’ll need to test one of these things before I can even consider putting down that much green for a 32 or 64 gb (I’m already planning to enslave myself to AT&T this summer when the next gen iPhone is released).

Posted by Mike H on January 27, 2010 at 6:09 PM (CST)

46

I’m interested to see what deals they strike with UK based newspapers and magazines.

I can see myself using the iPad to read the daily newspaper whilst communting and to replace my original 7 inch eeepc for web browsing or blogging whilst travelling.  Neither task requires an all singing all dancing machine. I’ll always return to my desktop PC for any heavy computing. The 16GB version would prob be enough as I already have my iPhone for my music.

In my opinion the most disapointing missing feature is an SD card reader. Why should we have to buy an adaptor for such a basic function?

Posted by Matt on January 27, 2010 at 6:17 PM (CST)

47

To all of you considering that iPad is a big touchy piece of junk:
Do you remember the first reactions to iPhone in 2007? I can do it for you:

1) Low battery life
2) Cannot copy/paste
3) 3G not included

People wrote tons and tons of comments with this sort of claims for more than a year… Now, look at yourselves! I’d say you all now strongly believe that iPhone was a perfect product from the beginning.

Honestly I think that iPad is not “revolutionary” at all, at least in terms of new features… But it may be in terms of user experience for multi-content management. I love my iPhone but:

1) I hate to write more-than-20-words mails with it
2) I hate to surf webpages with it
2) I hate to watch movies with it (especially if someone with a netbook is seated aside)
3) I think I need glasses!

And regarding the lack of Flash support… believe me, Flash is not a problem, the REAL problem is Flash! Hope HTML5 spreads rapidly…

Posted by btmub on January 27, 2010 at 6:20 PM (CST)

48

“Why should we have to buy an adaptor for such a basic function?”

Need you ask? If such a feature was intrinsic, why would *anyone* buy the 64GB for $200 more when they could buy a series of 32GB cards for $70@ and the $500 model. Apple has long used intentionally limited capacity to hold people hostage to physically upgrading devices that are otherwise perfectly functional.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 27, 2010 at 6:23 PM (CST)

49

iPad=iPuked

Posted by a3rdleg on January 27, 2010 at 6:26 PM (CST)

50

@Darby: Although there appear to be no specific USB or FireWire inputs built into the device, it’s very likely that the 30-pin Dock Connector will be accessible to third-party apps on the iPad in the same way as it currently is on the iPod touch and iPhone.  This means that specific apps which communicate with specific hardware, possibly through the use of an adapter cable, are not entirely out of the question.

@Code Monkey: For standard video, sure.  I’ll admit I haven’t played with a netbook since last fall, but at that point none of the low-end models I was playing with were particularly useful for handling 720/1080 HD video. Sure, there are higher-end netbooks that are beginning to sport ATI and NVIDIA chips, but those models retail for considerably more than $250—you’re getting back into the range of the iPad at that point.  As with the iPhone, the iPad is quite obviously going to be optimized for H.264 video playback through specific hardware technology and therefore be much more capable than it’s 1GHz CPU would suggest on the surface.  That said, your points about battery life comparisons are definitely valid.

As a more general comment, I also find it very interesting that the iPad 3G model is going to be sold unlocked rather than relying on a carrier-specific model.  AT&T will have a package available in partnership with Apple, but it sounds like you’ll be free to go to any 3G provider that can give you a microSIM card for it.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on January 27, 2010 at 6:27 PM (CST)

51

heh…well said code monkey.  Apple has been doing that since the first Macs…and even before.  It’s not a technical thing…it’s a business thing.  And Apple does it better than anyone else.  The know fanboys will buy in no matter what.

I like MBPs, I like most of what my iPhone can do…but i’m bummed at the limitations of the iPad.  I was hoping it would be more for me rather than for people who want to spend $500 or more to read books and newspapers they are going to have to buy for the iPad anyway.

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

52

So what if I already own an iPhone, we all have unlimited data plan-do I need to pay extra to AT&T to get unlimited Data on the iPad??? This is confusing… Do I need a new Data plan or can I still use my exiting plan with AT&T ??

Posted by Hansel on January 27, 2010 at 6:39 PM (CST)

53

Wow I am blown away by the overwhelmingly negative comments on this site.  This is an iPod Touch with a screen size that actually makes sense for video and books.  Starting at $500.  That’s all I wanted it to be, and it’s perfect in that regard.  I’ve got a desktop and a laptop for all my other needs…

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

54

I would love to see a stylus that interacts with the touch interface. Something along the lines as a Wacom Cintiq. This would a wonderful addition for us designers and make for a great digital sketchbook.

Posted by Qbberrt on January 27, 2010 at 6:45 PM (CST)

55

I’m not trying to hate, I just don’t get how anyone thinks this will “sell like crazy” when a decently equipped model of it costs $600-700. That’s out of the price range of young college-age adults and is 2-3 times as expensive as an iPod or iPhone. That’s more money than most people are probably willing to throw down to purchase something that can’t really do anything more than 1 or 2 devices they already own can. That’s why this won’t sell well.

Posted by jasbdk on January 27, 2010 at 6:49 PM (CST)

56

#52: You’d likely need a new data plan for the iPad 3G. Theoretically you could use your SIM card from your iPhone and swap back and forth, except that the iPad apparently uses a different SIM format (microSIM).  Alternatively, since the iPad will be sold unlocked, you could probably go with another carrier if you so preferred, as long as they support microSIM cards.

#55: The first-generation iPhone wasn’t expected to sell well at a $500-$600 price point (plus AT&T service) either, yet it sold better than anybody would have thought.  This is a first-generation product, and Apple seems to deliberately set price points higher, probably specifically to limit demand and gauge interest at that higher price point.  I have no doubt that we’ll see a price drop at some point in the future.  That said, for somebody who was thinking of buying a $600+ laptop or netbook only for the purposes of the features that the iPad targets, it may be a reasonable alternative.

With the iPhone, the target market wasn’t existing smartphone users, but rather those who hadn’t yet taken the plunge for whatever reason.  It appealed to those looking for “something different.”  The iPad may satisfy a similar niche: Those looking for something different from the current netbook and laptop offerings that are available in that price range.

Posted by Jesse Hollington in Toronto on January 27, 2010 at 6:58 PM (CST)

57

@ #55: I don’t get why anyone thinks it won’t!
Seriously, come back in one year and post that again.
Every hospital, school, and myriad other places of business will have orders for thee by the dozen.
Pony up - I’ll wager you here and now!

Posted by sb on January 27, 2010 at 7:17 PM (CST)

58

i think of the comments here are from hardcore computer users. where i see the potential is for people like my parents who haven’t quite grasp all the things a laptop can do and who may find the iphone or ipod touch too small and fiddly to operate. i think they should have called it iMag or iPaper; sure it does a lot more than a reader but i think the real potential here is in replacing people’s morning paper, magazine subscriptions and paperback books - the other stuff like iphoto, iwork, apps and itunes are just extras. remember apple is a company that emphasizes simplicity. a multitasking i7 core quad core super computer it aint. computer geeks always judge a product by how powerful it is. most people don’t need to run photoshop while they watch a pirated copy of Avatar!

Posted by aw29 on January 27, 2010 at 7:17 PM (CST)

59

It doesn’t handle Flash, or Acrobat files…I know, they have an PDF viewer, but I think we can all agree it is not the same. 

I was looking at this announcement and iPad as a replacement for the tablet PC, with a cool interface and lighter weight than the typical Tablet PC. Unfortunately I do not believe this is it.

How can Steve say that it is the ultimate way to browse the web (paraphrased) when there is no FLASH??

Posted by Bea on January 27, 2010 at 7:28 PM (CST)

60

Flash serves no useful purpose, and I hope to see it soon fade away.  The only thing I need Flash for on my iMac is my MLB.TV subscription.  Luckily, MLB Advanced Media offers an iPhone and soon, an iPad app that uses open standards like HTML5, and the proprietary Adobe Flash. YouTube and Vimeo now offer viewing of videos using HTML5.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on January 27, 2010 at 8:01 PM (CST)

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