The iPad is a larger device offering an enhanced experience that you might expect on an iPod touch or iPhone. Models are planned for the future with 3G capabilities, and special prepaid tariffs for American users. International (including UK) users will have to wait until June or July.
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You can run iPhone apps on the iPad, either in a window or scaled up to double size. Developers will be given the necessary tools to design enhanced apps for the iPad from today.
Text-input is still via an on-screen keyboard, but the larger screen now means very nicely spaced keys that should work well with the full multi-touch capacitive display.
Media is managed with a new client that is rather like iTunes, as against a separate iPod-like player on the iPod touch/iPhone. This will manage all of your content. There’s also Safari, email, calendar and full synchronisation/file sharing with other Apple computers on your network.
Pricing and details specs are yet to be revealed. We do know it’s half an inch thick and has a 9.7-inch display, while offering up to 10 hours battery life (and over a month standby). We’re not sure where the battery fits in to this thing though!
The iPad is powered by a custom processor called ‘A4’ running at 1GHz, and there are options of 16, 32 or 64GB flash storage. The iPad has 802.11b/g & n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. You also get a compass, accelerometer and mic/speaker + the standard Apple dock connector.
Apple was rumoured to be pushing into the eBook market and that is confirmed with the announcement of ‘iBooks’. It’s not the name of the device or something else, but rather another application to run on the iPad. There’s no fancy switch to an e-ink screen to save battery life even more, so that’s a bit of a disappointment. There are deals in place with Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan & Hachette.
Steve Jobs stated that Amazon had done a great job with the Kindle, but they’re going to go a bit further. Is it cheesy to have a virtual bookshelf with e-books on it? Well, that’s what it has!
For work, Apple has redesigned iWork to work on the iPad, giving totally new version of Keynote, Pages and Numbers. Each app will retail for US$9.99 each.
The iPad can be connected to a projector and to a computer via USB, syncing all content like an iPod touch/iPhone today. This includes photos, music, movies, TV shows, contacts, calendars, bookmarks and apps.
16GB model: US$499 ($629 with 3G)
32GB model: US$599 ($729 with 3G)
64GB model: US$699 ($829 with 3G)
Shipping within 60 days (90 days for 3G models)
Optional keyboard dock
More info: Apple iPad site