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Device sits squarely between the iPhone and MacBook
After years of hype, Apple, Inc. today introduced the iPad, a portable computing device that looks like a big iPhone. Introduced today by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the iPad features a touchscreen keypad, wireless and 3G capability, the capability to run all iPhone applications, all in a form factor that fits in between an iPhone and a MacBook. With the iPad, you can play movies, load maps, view photos, update your calendar, basically do the same things as on an iPhone, and more.
The iPad is half an inch thick and weighs 1.5lbs. It features a 9.7 inch IPS display that is fully multi touch. It will be available in 16, 32, and 64GB versions and is powered by a 1GHz Apple A4 CPU. it has Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and supports 802.11n WiFi. It has an external speaker and microphone pot as well as an accelerometer and Compass. Battery life is rated at 10 hours and features more than a month standby time. It will run all current iPhone applications available at the iTunes store. A Software Developer's kit is available at Apple.com so developers can optimize their applications for the larger screen and 1GHz Apple CPU of the iPad. Apple also demonstrated iWork written specifically for the iPad.
Before the device was even formally announced, it was rumored that it would change the way people read the morning paper, and at today's event, the New York Times came on stage to show its application for viewing its newspaper on the iPad. On screen, the New York Times has the look of its paper-based sibling, but with enhancements such as the capability to play video from within the story. Apple has also struck deals with major book publisher's including Penguin, Macmillan, Hachette book Group, Simon and Schuster, and HarperCollins to offer their titles on the iPad, what Apple calls iBooks. The digital books, which use the open standard ePub format, enable you to go directly to chapters from the table of contents, flip the pages by tapping on the right of the iPad screen, change the font size, flip back, and more. There will be several AT&T wireless plans to choose with the iPad, a $14.99 per month plan that includes 250MB data download, and a $29.99 plan for unlimited data, and free use of AT&T WiFi hotspots. The iPad is priced starting at $499 for the 16GB WiFi version (WiFi +3G $629), $599 for 32GB WiFi version (WiFi +3G $729), and $699 for the 64GB version (WiFi+3G $829). The iPad is expected to ship within the next 60 days. For more information, visit www.apple.com
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]