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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

61

I will buy one regardless of cost.  A lot of people are whining but I don’t get it?  First, this thing is BRAND new.  It will take some time for Apple to lay the ground work to figure out how to make it best.  Look at the iterations of the iPod, iTouch, and iPhone.  As tech come available along with a good price point, I think you’ll see it evolve into what you want.  I am on my third iPhone and each on has been better.  Could they have done the 3GS at the start?  I don’t know.  But like any technology I think it is to be expected to some degree if you call it “milking” people for more money I say that’s just the way it is with computers. 

Also, this thing isn’t supposed to be another laptop.  I have been wanting something like this with a larger screen (but not huge) capable of good movies, books and internet surfing while laying in bed or on a lounger by the pool.  Yes, I can currently do that on my iPhone.  But after a while the tiny screen gets old.  This is to be a fun device, not a work device although I think it is very capable based on what I have seen.  If I wanted to do SERIOUS work I’d whip out my MacBook Pro.  Until then this will work fine.

Having said all that, I agree that there are a few things that do concern me:

1.  I agree that Apple is probably going to upgrade as you go.  That’s a no brainer.  I think in a year you’ll see a model with at least a webcam.  Of course Apple will make mor money, But if you can afford it, who cares.  It is no different then George Lucas have Star Wars on VHS, then restored VHS, then DVD, then THX enhanced DVD, then the DVD’s with extra footage, and now BLU-Ray.  As technology changed you might have bought 5 sets of movies to play them at their best today.  Same with these products.

2.  Will you be able to simply add the additional wireless data cost to an existing AT&T account or will you have set up a separate account?

2.  No camera is acceptable considering the size of this thing.  Who’d really hold it up to take a picture?  Really, who? I can do that on my iPhone and simply email it to myself.  You’ll look like a spaz trying to take a picture with this.

3.  No webcam is a big letdown.  No video conferencing or Skyping type applications is a huge bummer.

4.  No multi-Tasking is a big let down.  No steaming Pandora or internet radio while working on it.  That sucks.

5.  There is going to be a USB adapter. Does that mean you could use an existing USB aircard to access the internet?

6.  Continued lack of Flash capablility by Apple is mind boggling.

All in all I can’t wait to try one.

Posted by DadofTwoGirls on January 27, 2010 at 6:02 PM (PDT)

62

Really, a giant iPhone/Touch took them years to develop?

Posted by Dunkin' on January 27, 2010 at 6:27 PM (PDT)

63

No Mac OS X means no purchase from me.  Steve, you can slam netbooks all you want but my HP Mini runs Windows 7 quite nicely, I have full blown Office 2007 up and running on it, I can get about 6.5 hours on a single charge, the screen resolution is 1366X768 (10” no less), it can playback full 1080p videos in multiple containers (it isn’t limited to 720p mpeg-4 AVC videos), I don’t have to spend $40+ to output video through VGA, I can output video with a resolution larger than 1080p through said VGA connection, it works most programs out there, etc.

I would have purchased the iPad if it was running full fledged Mac OS X Snow Leopard but it is nothing more than a glorified iPod touch.  The 16GB capacity model is also a complete joke.  HD videos, music, iPad specific games, and e-book all take up space.  That would quickly fill a 16GB drive in a matter of a month.  Nope, I am not going to waste my time or my money on this.  There is absolutely nothing revolutionary about it.  The iPad does not justify the 10+ years of hype surrounding the white unicorn Apple tablet.

Posted by kornchild2002 on January 27, 2010 at 6:31 PM (PDT)

64

@DadofTwoGirls: Really? Just the way it is with computers?

No.

Outside of “Jobsland”, you can generally get what you want, or close enough, from the start. There have been better functioning tablet computers out there for years for less than what the starting price is on this thing.

This is simply Apple doing what Apple does best: capitalize on a ready made customer base that isn’t interested in what the rest of the world can buy, but in what they can buy from Apple. Normal manufacturers know they don’t have the luxury of throwing out a barebones toy like this and charging top dollar; that would be the end of them. But Apple? Apple can throw out a tech demo like this and sell a million units blind folded. Three, four years from now, they’ll even be up to selling the very same product they could have released today for the same price point and some, like yourself, will have been there all the way rewarding them for this practice by continually repurchasing intentionally hamstrung products.

By all means, it’s a cool enough toy, and I guess if I were lucky enough to consider $700 a trivial expense I’d probably get one just for the “gee whiz” factor, but I’m not. Things have to be worth their asking price, and this iPad thing is overpriced by about $300-$500 for what it does.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 27, 2010 at 6:41 PM (PDT)

65

Agreed.  Too many negative posts on something that’s a 1.0 device.
Also, Flash?  Really?  The first thing I do on my Macs is install ClickToFlash to kill it.
I recall the same things being said with almost everything Apple makes.
Very few failed.  I predict this one won’t either.

Posted by sb on January 27, 2010 at 6:50 PM (PDT)

66

@Code Monkey - Dude! Did you copyright the word “netbook” or something? You are far to eager to push the netbook solution on everyone that finds any interest in this iPad. I agree that it is not the revolutionary device many thought was coming. It really is a beefed up iPod Touch. The thing is, a lot of people are simply looking for a beefed up iPod Touch/iPhone.

Many people want to know what this does that those other two things don’t. Well, two pretty big things. First, it is three times the screen size. That is great. I can hardly watch more than a couple of 30 minute TV shows on my iPhone before I get eyestrain. Same thing with surfing the web. I can do it, but not for too long. Second, it is an e-reader. An e-reader that operates in portrait AND landscape. Where is the netbook that flips like that?

Netbooks have their place. They are ultimately more functional for computing. This is a media device. That is all many people really want. A media device with some added features. A media device that is better suited to all thing NOT music than the Touch. A media device that doesn’t require many of the headaches of dragging a laptop (even netbook sized) around.

I am not saying it is a great product. It has potential. Just like the original iPhone had potential to be more (3GS is leaps and bounds from the iPhone 1G). The battery life doesn’t live up to the Kindle. So what? Are you going to sit and read non-stop for 10 hours? Away from an outlet? Not likely. Maybe on an overseas flight. I will gladly give up that battery life on a $500 iPad that has many capabilities rather than buy a $400 Kindle that lets me read…in black and white…for 4 days.

Posted by Mitch on January 27, 2010 at 7:43 PM (PDT)

67

@sb, no, it won’t fail. Apple could market a bronzed piece of cat dung and it wouldn’t fail. Due to their fan base at this point they have a guaranteed sales number for pretty much anything they do that exceeds the sales of the majority of products out there regardless of merit. It’s what gives them the freedom to trickle through the various iPhone and iPod iterations, and, like their other products, it’s not a *bad* product, it’s just not a very good one either compared to the competition, and that’s why we’re disappointed.

When the iPod came out, it gave us something that no one had managed before: the marriage of good music management software with a device built around said music management software. When the iPod touch & iPhone came out, they put a fairly decent mini computer in your pocket in a way no one had done so smoothly before.

However, what is this particular product doing better or new? Is the novelty of a touch interface that looks like a blown up iPhone OS based device really worth the price premium over another tablet computer for less money based on Windows? Or a Netbook that will run everything from Linux to Windows to OS X for a few hundred dollars less with 20 times the storage and several times the RAM?

It is a cool toy, and just as soon as I win the lottery I’ll be sure to pick one up for every member of my family, but nothing is going to change the fact that this is just a slick way of presenting something old as something new and getting way too many media outlets to go along with the free advertising for Jobs again.

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 27, 2010 at 7:54 PM (PDT)

68

Mitch is so right. If iPad had a webcam and at least 80GB of memory it would have been a no brainer for me.

Posted by Luis Velázquez on January 27, 2010 at 7:58 PM (PDT)

69

I agree with Paul Thurrott’s term…iDud!  What a joke today’s “event” was!

Posted by Disappointed on January 27, 2010 at 8:35 PM (PDT)

70

i don’t you, but i can stop thinking this thing should be on and SNL sketch or something, is simple and iphone on steroids, but lest useful, really funny

Posted by tawat on January 27, 2010 at 8:53 PM (PDT)

71

Will there be a remote for the iPad ?

Posted by Martin on January 27, 2010 at 9:40 PM (PDT)

72

hye its really so nice one 120gb of memory its really helpfull to the peoples i am thinking to buy this thank you…......

Posted by joey on January 27, 2010 at 9:43 PM (PDT)

73

So called “power users” that are convinced this product is not for them.  Great, don’t buy one.  But I can guarantee you its only the people with no imagination on how this could be useful in a lot of tech and non-tech fields.  Go buy a Netbook and shut up.  There are a lot of us out here that have plenty of uses, even in data centers, that a lot of these will be sold, and used.

Posted by N Lyne on January 27, 2010 at 9:48 PM (PDT)

74

its reaay good one and its look very good i am so happy cos its have 120gb of memory i am thinking to buy this…... thank you…..

Posted by joey on January 27, 2010 at 9:49 PM (PDT)

75

While I was disappointed by the lack of a camera and no Verizon option and multitasking OS, I am excited by the potential.
A lot of posters have asked, how is it better/different than a netbook and/or iPhone and/or Kindle. First the netbook - the multitouch interface compared with touchpad or mouse!! Much more efficient and ergonomic than pointing devices and touchpads, which have caused me repetitive motion injury. More natural and intuitive interface to non-techies. Much faster from pressing “on” to surfing the web. Netbooks still have a long boot time, and hibernation isn’t the anser - too many bugs. I’d use an iPad for a quick lookup when I wouldn’t take the time to boot my netbook.

The iPhone - the bigger screen!! I have an iPhone and love it but watching videos or reading books or newspapers is not as pleasurable an experience as it would be with a larger screen. Typing is not efficient for us folks with big fingers.

Kindle - Color amd Multimedia and multifunctionality. Much more verstile device. Not as good for pure text, I’ll agree, but I hate that e-ink “flash” between pages so it’s not perfect either.

Remember, this is only 1.0 and has much more potential for growth in features and capabilities. I’m excited now but much more so for a year or two from now.

Posted by wh on January 27, 2010 at 10:19 PM (PDT)

76

Ah, and with #73, the fanboys come out to ruin it for everyone.

“Go buy a netbook and shut up.”

Just beautiful.

Wasn’t aware I was required to buy anything to have an informed opinion. There is a lovely all pro-Apple, all the time website out there where anything remotely negative is shouted down or outright removed, it’s called Apple.com. At iLounge, we tend to be more objective and more critical. When we like something, we praise it, when we don’t, we tear it apart. We don’t always agree with one another, but we generally remain civil.

As for the substance of your post, very doubtful. I’ve seen plenty of ~$200 netbooks being used in doctor’s offices and such (which are actually probably being leased complete with their software for about $150/year), but haven’t ever seen anyone dropping the sort of change the lowest end of these cost for the sort of mobile data entry they’re suited for. Again, it comes down to a cost-benefit analysis.  Most companies are just going to lease packages of netbooks for a couple of hundred dollars per year per employee instead of soaking up the costs of something like the iPad “just because”.

I’ve got plenty of imagination, and that’s my problem with the product. Everything I can imagine myself doing on an iPad, I can imagine myself doing on an alternative product for considerably less money smile

Posted by Code Monkey in Midstate New York on January 27, 2010 at 10:28 PM (PDT)

77

For whatever it’s worth, I think that many of the haters are going to change their minds on the iPad when they actually get their hands on one. It’s more than the sum of its parts, and has a ton to offer, even if Apple didn’t quite get the software part entirely right this time.

I say that as a netbook owner. A soon to be former netbook owner.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on January 27, 2010 at 10:32 PM (PDT)

78

No Flash, no multitasking, no USB port, expensive, extremely low memory. What were they thinking?

Posted by Oscar on January 27, 2010 at 10:47 PM (PDT)

79

While disappointing for some, less is more. I for one look forward to get off my Newton Message Pad 120 and try this web thing in color they were talking about.

Posted by Sondergaard on January 27, 2010 at 11:00 PM (PDT)

80

I’m liking it.  To me the lack of flash is no big deal.  I am still trying to find any “official” statement that says you can’t multitask on the iPad, or is everyone assuming it?

Posted by Tim Hultquist on January 28, 2010 at 12:28 AM (PDT)

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