Complete transcript of Apple’s iPad special event


Below is a complete transcript of iLounge’s live coverage from Apple’s iPad media event, held on January 27, 2010. Updates are presented in reverse chronological order; photos from the event can be seen on iLounge’s Flickr account.

12:09 PM: A brief update for those still watching this feed – we just went hands on with new Accessories. There’s a new VGA to Dock Connector Adapter ($29) for attaching the iPad to a projector or monitor. 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 card. The Keyboard Dock ($69) with a normal keyboard grafted on to the front of a plastic dock. A standard Dock ($29) with audio and dock connector ports on the back. 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.
11:32 AM: Apple has always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts, Jobs says. Technologically powerful but easy to use and fun to use, fitting the users so users don’t have to come to them – they come to the user. So hands on area next door. That’s it for now.

11:30 AM: Jobs back on stage, saying that he thinks it is far better at doing what it does than smartphone or computer. Over 75 million people know how to use iPad b/c they already have used iPhones and iPod touches. iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore (correct spelling, all one word). Over 125 million accounts for one-click. Users have downloaded over 12 billion products from Apple’s stores already. Apple is at scale and ready for iPad. To sum it up: Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price. We think this is going to be a really great combination.

11:26 AM: Bob Mansfield on hardware side. Noting the multi-touch capabilities, 1000 sensors inside to provide accuracy. The display is LED backlit. IPS technology is premium display technology, looks great when viewed on or off-angle. The custom Apple-developed silicon in the A4 chip is built by hardware team in concert with software team. Boosts battery life to 10 hours. Apple is the one place where you can really do this, bring everything together. Affordable price, Schiller says, is key. We wanted to do it differently, get it into the hands of as many people as possible right from the start. Ive says it’s bigger than a new product, it’s a new category, but millions of people will be instantly familiar with knowing how to use it. This defines our philosophy, our sense.

11:22 AM: Video. Jonny Ive talking about iPad. Also Schiller. Bringing over iPhone innovations to iPad. Back is a pure aluminum shell just liked the leaked photos, Apple icon facing up when device is upright. Single piece of multitouch glass. Forstall says it just feels right to browse the Internet this way. Cheesy music playing in the background. You don’t even think about it, says Forstall, you just do – referring to browsing the web. It’s just a product highlight video demonstrating what we’ve previously seen on stage. Note that there has been nothing said or shown whatsoever about an integrated camera on either side of the device.

11:16 AM: He’s building up to the price tag by showing off all the various features. Listen to the pundits, he says, “under $1000 or $999.” When we set out to develop the iPad, we not only had very ambitious technical goals and UI goals, but also had a very aggressive price goal: we want to put this in the hands of lots of people. Thrilled to announce iPad pricing starts at $499… for 16GB model. 32GB is $599 and 64GB is $699. These are all Wi-Fi versions. With 3G, add $130 to each model. $629 $729 and $829. Six models. Even the most expensive one is $829. We think it’s an unbelievable price point. When can you get them? 60 days worldwide availability of the Wi-Fi models he says, 30 days more for 3G models. So, soon. Accessories – a dock: when you’re in the lock screen you can have a pictureframe with the iPad. Another dock: a keyboard dock. Full-sized mechanical keyboard plus a dock in the back for charging. When you really need to do a lot of typing, this is the way to go. Third is a really nice case, he says, a black case that exposes the screen and has a flip-style lid that doubles back to become a stand.

11:15 AM: What about internationally? Deals by June/July timeframe will be in place. Will start on those deals tomorrow. All iPad 3G models are unlocked. Uses new GSM micro sims. So internationally if carriers offer micro sims, they’ll likely just work. They’ll be back this summer with even better deals for customers internationally.

11:11 AM: Steve’s back. iTunes. The iPad syncs over USB with iTunes. Exactly like an iPhone or iPod touch. When you sync, you sync everything. (Unless you’re Jesse. Or me. And you have 64GB of space on the iPad.) WiFi – every iPad has 802.11n but there will also be models with 3G. What does it cost for the data plans? In the US, telcom companies charge $60 per month for laptops. We have a breakthrough: two plans. 250mb of data per month for $14.99. Most people will get by on that, he says. If you need more, unlimited for $29.99. These he says are breakthrough prices. AT+T is providing the service. AT+T is throwing in free use of their wi-fi hotspots in the US with this. How do you turn it on and manage it? Activate right on the iPad itself. No contract. Cancel anytime. Prepaid.

11:10 AM: The apps, he notes, used to be difficult to use. Now they make things easy. And Apple will charge $9.99 each for the apps. They’re compatible with Mac versions. Easily connect to projectors with a simple cable, he says. (Wonder which cable that is.)

11:04 AM: To call this a “basic” version of Keynote would be unfair. It’s been cut down a little, but it’s obviously very sophisticated by iPhone OS standards – the next evolution of creation tools on a simple device. Pages has a library of documents, plus templates. Tap anywhere to bring up a ruler, the bottom-of-screen keyboard, which can be used in tall or wide orientations. A page navigator lets you preview thumbnails of all of the pages, scrolling down on a translucent bar like the iPhone’s. You can also move graphical elements and see text re-flow around the graphics. Multiple columns, etc. as well. Numbers: library of past spreadsheets and templates comes up first. Tabs along the top let you access multiple spreadsheets within the same document, and you can tap, hold, and drag information to rearrange both columns and the table below it. When there’s an empty cell, you can quickly bring up a numeric entry keyboard, a changing time and date keyboard, a text keyboard, or formulas and functions, all accessible on the screen’s bottom by tapping on which keyboard you want. It’s very powerful, he says, and yes indeed it is. Our observation: a lot of these little tricks are going to require people to re-learn how they use spreadsheets, but once they do, they’re going to see a LOT of power in this interface. It’s very Star Trek.

10:59 AM: A suite of applications that millions of Mac customers love. iWork team has been working for a year to bring the software to the iPad. They’ve done some remarkable work, with new version of Keynote designed specifically for iPad – create presentations with fingers. Pages is the most beautiful word processor you’ll ever see. Also new version of Numbers, a spreadsheet that’s fun and cool to use. He’ll demo the new iWork applications on the tablet. Keynote runs in landscape orientation because that’s how slides are. You see libraries of presentations created – can create new presentations by tapping a button, choosing a theme, and you get slide navigator on the left hand side. Scroll with finger to see more slides. Can create tables, and charts in keynote. You can hold finger down and drag a slide to rearrange them, also tap multiple slides to move them at the same time. There’s a media navigator to let you access the content on your device and bring it directly into the slides. You can resize photos, tapping one to help pick the size for another. Animations – built-in ones – let you add effects to parts of the slides.

10:57 AM: iBooks. A great reader, great online bookstore. All in one app. ePub format used. Most popular open book format in the world. Also excited about textbooks, he says. iWork. Over a year ago, he asked head of iWork team to find a way to create iWork for the iPad. Initial reaction was, iWork apps like Keynote, Pages and Numbers are heavy duty, they require a lot of horsepower. Could tablet power them? You betcha. Could we come up with an entirely new user interface for the apps? What they came up with was really magnificent, he says. Phil Schiller, SVP Product Marketing, will discuss.

10:55 AM: iBook Store is just like the iTunes Store in terms of layout. You can get a sample to read if you’d like. Bookshelf spins around like a secret passage to reveal the store, and then bookshelf spins around to show what you’ve downloaded. Tap anywhere on right to flip forward, right to flip backward. You can also drag pages if you want to see two at a time, with realistic curling effect. The rendition on the iPad looks like there’s a light paper texture applied to make the pages look a little nicer; you can pick between five fonts and change font sizes as you prefer.

10:51 AM: While we wait for the apps to come out, says Forstall, you can still run prior apps on iPad. Steve is back on stage. They only had 2- 2.5 weeks to work on the stuff. Imagine what they can do in the next few months. New Apple app – he shows Amazon’s ebook reader Kindle; Apple will go further than Kindle with a full-screen eBook reader called iBooks. iBooks has a bookshelf that inclues covers on a shelf. You can see two pages or one page at once as you prefer, and there’s a button at upper left to access the new iBook Store. Fully integrated with app to let you discover, purchase, download eBooks right on your iPad. Apple has its top charts, NYT bestsellers, and five of the largest publishers in the world – Penguin, Harpercollins, Simon + Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette are on board with rest able to join starting today.
10:49 AM: Makes At Bat, downloaded nearly 2 million times, and streamed nearly 60 million videos. Chad Evans to show iPad. You can look at the live game experience to see all the scores being tracked at once, plus info on all pitches, see baseball card-style stats for each player (cool), and also have video highlights on another window on the screen. Can also check out the box score, field, batter-pitcher matchup, and lineup during the games. You can watch live with your choice of home or away announcers. Baseball game takes the whole screen and looks HD; you can overlay player cards and other details on top of the video while you watch.

10:46 AM: Electronic Arts. Has over 40 titles already in the store. #1 worldwide publisher of mobile games – Travis Boatman to present. Need for Speed Shift. Using the large screen, company could easily bring the game up to iPad – frame rate is very decent. A little bit like holding a HDTV just inches from your face, he says. To switch into in-car view, just tap on the third-person car. Tap on the mirror to look behind you. The game looks like a punched up mobile game, not quite like a PS3 or Xbox 360 title. Expect a lot more great stuff from EA soon.

10:43 AM: Brushes. A popular iPhone painting app that creates works of art using fingertips. It’s a one-person app, Steve Sprang’s development. The paintings made with this have appeared on the cover of the New Yorker, amongst other places. There’s a gallery of original iPhone paintings that can be edited and shared; you can paint directly on the screen using your fingers. The prior brushes, etc, have been brought over to the iPad. You have the ability to zoom in 32 times, filling the screen with a small element of the painting, and can easily undo, save replays of your actions, etc – showing animation of drawing. Brushes will be available at iPad’s launch.

10:40 AM: New York Times. Has published newspaper for more than 150 years, with national and international resources. Martin Nisenholtz to discuss NYT app. The Times web site works well, so why did they come and develop new application 3 weeks ago for iPad? iPhone app was optimized for that device – this joins the best of print with best of digital all wrapped up in one. The app is now the NY Times Reader. It preserves typography of Times and lets you flip through sections, bring up a little window to choose sections. It captures the essence of reading the newspaper, they say. It doesn’t look like the web site or the paper, but has elements from both – looks quite nice. Also integrates video smoothly into what looks like a white page from the paper or the web site. Only three weeks into development, but a very good start.

10:35 AM: iPhone SDK now supports development for the iPad. SDK releases today. SDK even includes iPad simulator so you can run apps right on Mac as they’re being developed. It’ll be a whole another gold rush, Forstall says. Every iPad has the App Store built in. We’re going to highlight and feature apps built specifically for the iPad, on the iPad App Store. Two weeks ago, invited a few developers to Apple to get a sneak peek at the iPad… Gameloft is first. 60 games downloaded over 55 million times – Mark Hickey of Gameloft. N.O.V.A. on iPad. The size lets you have more flexibility in control. You can move buttons and D-pad around on the screen. Frame rate on the iPad right now looks comparable to iPhone 3GS, maybe a little lower, though using full screen and full apparent resolution. You can slide two fingers across screen to throw grenades. You can turn your fingers Metroid Prime style to open airlocks. Multiple target acquisition by drawing a targeting box on screen to hit them at once. This was accomplished in “a few short days.” Ships later this year.

10:31 AM: We built the iPad to run virtually all of the 140,000 apps unmodified out of the box. Can run pixel for pixel accurate black box in the center of the screen, or pixel double to run the apps in full screen. Facebook can run in the center of the screen with a glossy frame around the image. You can hit a 2X button to scale application up to full screen. What about something that really drives the graphics hardware – ESPN X Games Snocross. Plays a video in the center of the screen, not really doing much to use the display. Open GL ES game, unmodified, just runs on the device at a speed that looks basically like iPhone 3GS, maybe better in smoothness. He doubles it and it fills the screen, no shortage of framerate. When you buy an iPad, your old apps will work. If the developer spends time modifying it, they can take full advantage of the large touchscreen display. Apple rewrote all of their UIs to make use of the display.

10:27 AM: Applause for the demo. Watching it is nothing like getting it in your hands, he says. So let’s go back to the hardware. It’s really thin – half an inch thin. Weights 1.5 pounds. Thinner and lighter than any netbook. 9.7 inch IPS display. Full capacitive multi-touch. bottom of unit has dock connector and three holes to the side. i GHZ Apple A4 chip. 16-64GB of flash storage. Chip developed by Apple. WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. Accelerometer, compass, speaker, microphone, 30-pin connector – battery life: Apple can get 10 hours of battery life. Note that the images here do not show the second dock connector we have been hearing about from multiple sources. It also has a month of standby time. Refers to it briefly as “iPod;” oops. Third-party applications… Scott Forstall, SVP of iPhone software.

10:23 AM: New Calendar lets you switch views and easily tap on events to see more detail. Contacts application address book resembles an actual book. The Maps application looks very similar to the iPhone one, but obviously with much higher resolution and access to the big keyboard. Searching for Sushi in San Francisco. Tap on pins to find them, Google Street View comes up very quickly and shows everything in neighborhood. Video: YouTube is one of the sections, providing access to HD videos that display in tall mode on the top of the screen while the bottom is used for data, or spin the device into widescreen mode to see full screen. Videos show cover artwork when you want to select things rather than just text with small thumbnails; screen constantly being split into two panes to show more information. Star Trek being shown in widescreen. VERY significant black bars at top and bottom of the screen due to the screen’s shape. Clicking on Pixar’s Up, left of the screen is a list of chapters, right is the cover art. Screen fills with image in correct aspect ratio, black bars on top and bottom.

10:21 AM: In widescreen mode, the iPad shifts the homescreen (finally) to wide orientation with icons, making use of the space. Playing songs looks very similar to a mix of iTunes and iPhone – see our Flickr feed for images. Lots of little pop-up windows for album browsing, lyrics appearing as a translucent overlay. iTunes Store provides a view similar to what’s now in the computer iTunes application, with bezel-less windows appearing on top of the current iTunes Store interface.

10:19 AM: It’s all just an evolved, natural move from iPhone OS photos application to something closer to what is done by iPhoto ‘09. There are, of course, transition effects that now make more use of the large screen – multiple pictures at once, in a transition called origami, flipping from pane to pane with 3-D effects. All very smooth.

10:16 AM: E-mail demo: Looks very much like iPhone OS version of e-mail, only with more white space – rotate screen on mail and it splits screen to show you collection of emails in your inbox. PDF etc is just like using iPhone. Compose button brings up keyboard on the bottom of the screen, and he’s using the bottom of the screen as a keyboard. It has the same aesthetic as the iPhone OS keyboard. Photos demo: show photos in portrait or landscape, tap on photos to zoom, turn portrait or landscape, etc. Interface keeps using zoom effects nicely. Can grab Events, Faces, and Places from iPhoto, as well as metadata from photos. If you want to pinch open stacks of photos on the screen, you just do that – they expand outwards like a collection of small thumbnails when you pinch.

10:10 AM: Looks just like the leaked images. Has iPhone style interface with more space – used for a backdrop. Has a dock at bottom. Includes several home screen graphics. Can browse the web with it – the best experience you’ve ever had. Whole web page right in front of you. Way better than laptop and smartphone, you manipulate with fingers. You can change orientation. For mail, a huge virtual keyboard – almost lifesize, a dream to type on. Built in a calendar so you can see months, new Address Book for contacts, new maps application that works with google’s backend. iPad is an awesome way to enjoy music collection – new iTunes-like interface for music, plus iTunes Store for discovery and purchasing of contents. You can watch YouTube including HD, and it’s awesome to watch TV shows and movies on. Here’s the demo. Slide to unlock screen comes up. Zoom effects a lot like iPhone’s. Whole front page of NYT website shown just like before on iPhone, only with a lot more space. No flash support, still. Going over now to Time magazine.

10:08 AM: They’ll have to be better at browsing the web than these devices. Doing email. Photos. Video. Enjoying music collection. Playing games. Reading eBooks. If there’s going to be third-category device, it’ll have to be better at these tasks or else it has no reason for being. Some people have thought that’s a netbook. But the problem is that netbooks aren’t better at anything. They’re slow, have clunky displays, and run clunky old PC software. They’re just cheap laptops. We think we have something that is. We call it iPad.

10:06 AM: WSJ quote on screen: last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it. Go back to 1991 when Apple announced and shipped its first PowerBooks. This was the first modern laptop computer. Apple invented the modern laptop. Had TFT screen, pushed keyboard up to have palmrests, and had a pointing device – trackball. In 2007, Apple reinvented the phone with the iPhone, now we have the iPhone 3GS, best phone in the world. All of us use laptops and smartphones now. Is there room for a third device in the middle, between a laptop and a smartphone?

10:05 AM: Apple’s revenues over $50b per year. Apple gets revenue from iPods, iPhones, and of course Macs. iPods are mobile devices. iPhones are mobile devices, and most of the Macs we ship now are laptops. Apple is a mobile devices company. That’s what we do. How does Apple stack up against all the other companies selling mobile devices – Apple is the largest mobile device company in the world. Larger than Sony’s mobile devices business, bigger than Samsung, by revenue, bigger than Nokia. Apple is #1 mobile devices company in the world. Those are the updates.

10:03 AM: 50 million visitors in one quarter. One of the newest is fourth in NYC. On Broadway a few blocks up from Lincoln Center. It’s wonderful to be putting these stores… right in the neighborhoods of our customers. Next update: App Store. Incredible phenomenon. 140,000 applications in the App Store. A few weeks ago we announced a used downloaded the 3 billionth app in around 18 months since inception. Lastly, photo of two Steves starting Apple in 1976. 34 years later, we just ended holiday quarter with $15.6B in revenue.

10:02 AM: Good morning and thank you all for coming today. We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product today. But before we get to that, I have some updates. First, iPods: We sold our 250,000,000th iPod since 2001 a few weeks ago. They’ve changed the way we discover, engage + purchase music. Second update: retail stores. We now have 284 retail stores.

10:01 AM: Applause starts from the Apple people. Steve takes the stage. Looking very similar to last time.

10:00 AM: Lights are dimming. Cameras are all focused on the stage. Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone continues on…

10:00 AM: Thanks for joining us, everyone! I’m going to dispense in some cases with timestamps this time – don’t worry, allow the page to auto-reload and you’ll get all the good stuff.

9:57 AM: Walls have paint splattered banners matching the invite theme – three banners on each wall, with some VIP seating areas above each one.

9:56 AM: Stage is totally different than the norm: there’s a lounge chair up there with a table, and something (iPad?) laying on top of the table up there. Podium areas are set up to the left and right of the stage, bereft of typical iMacs etc. that are used at these events. Bottles of water are on one of them.

9:55 AM: Like a Rolling Stone is currently playing – a live version. “Welcome to this Apple Special Event. Please take a moment to turn off your cell phones and paging devices…”

9:53 AM: So far, a lot of live tracks – Bob Dylan et al. – have been playing within the room as people wait for the event to start. Contrast with prior heavily produced stuff, Coldplay et al.

9:42 AM: See our Twitter feed at for pre-event details. A few interesting things in there.

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Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.