Apple Launches iPad Tablet Device (UPDATED)

Jan 27, 2010
By Dan Havlik, PDN's Technology Specialist

Apple iPad

After months (years?) of hype, Apple officially launched its new tablet computer device today, called the iPad.

"It's way better than a laptop, way better then a phone," Apple Chief Steve Jobs said today at special launch event in San Francisco, CA. "You can turn it any way you want. To see the whole page is phenomenal."

The 9.7-inch flat display looks a lot like a larger version of Apple's iPhone and performs many of the same functions (aside from making phone calls). The iPad is designed to let users browse the web, check email, view photos, play music, watch videos, read books, check calendars etc.

The iPad is half an inch thick, weighs one and half pounds and has a 9.7-inch IPS display. To access the device's functions, the iPad offers full capacitive multi-touch interface, much like the iPhone.

Jobs said the iPad is powered by Apple's "own silicon," a 1GHz Apple A4 chip. Three models will be available with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of flash storage. It will offer Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and WiFi 802.11n wireless connectivity.

Pricing & Plans

Pricing will be $499 for the 16GB model; $599 for the 32GB; $799 for 64GB.

Some iPads will also have 3G connectivity through AT&t, Jobs said. Those will cost an extra $130 a piece. Regular iPads will ship in 60 days and 3G versions will ship in 90 days.

Data plans will be $14.99 for up to 250MB of data per month; or $29.99 for unlimited monthly data. There will be no contracts and users can cancel anytime. All iPads are unlocked and use new GSM MicroSim cards.

Battery life is estimated at 10 hours, Jobs said. Other features include an accelerator and a compass; a speaker, and a built-in microphone.

Like the iPhone, the iPad will run an assortment of apps from Apple's iTunes store including several that were demonstrated during the Apple event. The New York Times showed off an iPad app which along with providing larger way to view text and images than on the iPhone also offered a way to easily view embedded videos.

What About Magazine Support?
Curiously, Jobs made no mention of how the iPad will display magazines. There had been some speculation that mutli-media magazines would be a content cornerstone for Apple's new tablet device.

Prior to the iPad's release, Sports Illustrated, Bonnier, and other publications were already promoting e-reader concepts, prompting many to see a tablet type device from Apple as a possible panacea for the struggling magazine industry.

We covered this phenomenon last month in the pages of PDN.

In addition to spotlighting several iPad video games -- inevitable -- Jobs showed off a new iBooks app which is designed to compete against the Amazon Kindle.

In the demo, the iBooks app displayed an iBooks store -- sort of like iTunes -- with participating vendors including Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Hachette books group.

The iPad can also run new version of Apple's iWork suite of productivity software.

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