After literally years of speculation, Apple’s tablet is here and it’s called the iPad. It’s available from March (see below).
Analysis can come later but for now here’s everything that was announced at today’s Apple event.
- The iPad is a 9.7″ touch screen tablet device and is designed to fill the gap between MacBook and iPhone
- To look at, it’s a large iPod Touch/iPhone. As with the iPhone it contains an accelerometer so that you can rotate it to switch between portrait and landscape modes.
- Steve Jobs calls it “Our most advanced technology in a magical & revolutionary device at an unbelievable price”. Jonathan Ive says “This defines our vision, our sense of what’s next”.
- 9.7″ screen – LCD, not OLED as rumoured.
- The screen has IPS (In-Plane Switching) to improve the viewing angle and colour rereproduction when you’re not looking at it flat-on.
- 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. 30-pin connector, speaker, microphone, accelerometer and compass.
- 10 hour battery life (when playing video), 1 month stand-by.
- Some models come with 3G data as well as WiFi.
Models, prices and availability
- 16GB WiFi only: $499
- 32GB WiFI only: $599
- 64GB WiFi only: $699
- 16GB WiFi & 3G: $629
- 32GB WiFi & 3G: $729
- 64GB WiFi & 3G: $829
- WiFi only versions available from March. 3G versions available from April. You can sign up for preorder notification over at Apple’s iPad pages.
Built in apps
- Its web browser is billed by Jobs as “The best you’ve ever had”.
- Photo viewer, with map view to see geotagged photos and a slideshow mode.
- Email client
- Music player much more like iTunes than the standard iPhone music player.
- Movies play with borders because the screen aspect ratio is closer to 4:3 than 16:9
- iTunes Store
- Maps with current location detection.
- YouTube client
- An Address Book that actually looks like… a real address book.
- Calendar – very much like iCal on OSX.
- A giant on-screen keyboard takes up almost half the screen, allowing for big, fat buttons supposedly making typing a breeze.
3rd Party Apps
- “Virtually all” iPhone apps can run on it without modifications – either in a small box in the middle of the screen in actual size or ‘pixel doubled’ to fill the screen by tapping a ‘2x’ icon.
- Existing apps you’ve bought for your iPhone/Pod Touch can be synced to the iPad without paying again.
- A new SDK is released today for developers.
- iPad-specific apps will be listed as such in the store.
- The New York Times demonstrated an app that is essentially a reader for the newspaper but with interactive features like being able to play movies embeded in the ‘pages’.
- An impressive painting app was revealed that allowed users to create artwork with their fingers on screen. So that’s that the paint splashes on the event invite were about!
- EA deomonstrated an version of Need For Speed with great looking 3D graphics and touchscreen controls.
- MLB.com revealed an app for Baseball fans.
- Apple has launched its own e-book app called iBooks.
- Books can be browsed from an on-screen bookshelf and then read fullscreen. Pages can be flipped by touching the screen.
- An iBook store is built in featuring books from Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette book group.
- iBooks supports the ePub format for e-books.
- A new version of Apple’s iWork suite has been created specifically for the iPad. Rather than pay for the complete suite you can buy each iWork app separately for $9.99 each.
- Pages, Keynote and Numbers are all included meaning word processing, presentations and spreadsheets are all possible.
- Keynote allows presentations to be both viewed and created on the iPad. As the iPad can be connected to a projector it should make for an excellent presentation control device.
- Likewise, Pages allows both document viewing and creation/editing. Everything has been revised and optimised for the new device.
- Numbers is, again, fully capable. It can create and edit spreadsheets complete with graphs and the like.
- As with an iPhone you can sync the iPad’s music, movies, contacts etc with your computer via iTunes.
- If you want to be connected everywhere you can connect some iPad models to a 3G data network. (see device price above).
- In the US this is priced at $15 for the first 250MB or $30 for unlimited data.
- US 3G is provided by AT&T. There’s no contract – you just activate the data connection on your iPad and pay as you go.
- International data deals should be in place by June.
- The iPad is unlocked, meaning that you could in theory use another network. The iPad uses GSM Micro SIMs – so any network that uses them will be fine.
- Need to type out a long document or blog post? Just buy yourself the full-size mechanical keyboard that connects via the iPad’s dock connector.
- A case for the device is available that doubles up as a table stand for viewing movies easily.
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So, what do you think? If you want an iPad make sure you enter our competition to win one right now (unless you’re reading this after the closing date, in which case sorry!).