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.