Apple’s iPad PreviewFeatured, Tech — By Mike Ruest on January 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm
Finally, we can all stop speculating about Apple’s new tablet officially called “iPad.” We knew this was coming, but in what form and at what price is this new must-have geek item going to cost? Let’s move away from rumors and get down to reality on what we know:
The iPad features a 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy screen with Multi-Touch allowing both portrait and landscape viewing. Translation = it will work just like your iPhone or iTouch just bigger and better. It also features an Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor and Compass. The iPad is only 0.5 inch thin and 1.5 pounds in weight. Featuring a battery capable of 10 hours of video, web surfing and music. There is built-in Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) on all models and Wi-Fi + 3G on other models utilizing GMS technology. Capacity will come in the flavors of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Like your iPhone or iTouch, the iPad will also have built-in speakers, a microphone, a 3.5-mm headphone jack, dock connector, on/off button, mute button, and volume controls. The 3G models will also feature a SIM card tray. Running the iPad will be the 1 GHz Apple A4 chip, allowing for an amazing screen resolution of 1024×768.
Prices and Plans
The iPad has three Wi-Fi only models: 16GB for $499, 32GB for $599, and 64GB for $699. The three Wi-Fi + 3G models will be priced accordingly: 16GB for $629, 32GB for $729, and 64GB for $829 (basically $130 more for having 3G). The Wi-Fi models will be available in stores in 60 days, while the 3G models will take 90 days to become available. The 3G models will be carried by none other than AT&T (no switch there as rumors had it). The interesting thing about the 3G models is that they are Unlocked. And Apple made it clear that the iPad could work on any carrier using GSM technology – can you say T-Mobile (even though it could only be T-Mobile’s Edge data speeds versus their full 3G). Data plans for the 3G will be: 250 MB for $14.99/mo and Unlimited for $29.99/mo. Like the iPhone, the iPad can also utilize the free AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots. One thing to note is that the data plans will require no contract and you can cancel anytime. Activation for each plan will also be done directly from the iPad, meaning no special trip to the AT&T or Apple store. The iPad will come with the actual unit, dock connector to USB cable, 10W power adapter, and documentation.
Other than revamped versions of iTunes, iPod music, movies, YouTube, email, calendar, contacts, notes, photos, maps, Safari and other features you would find on the iPhone or iTouch, the iPad now has its own version of iWorks. Numbers, Keynote, and Pages can be purchased individually for $9.99 or the entire iWorks suite can be had for $30. These files are also fully compatible with its Mac OS version. The other feature as speculated, is full compatibility with existing Apps and the use of Apps you already own. These Apps and games can then be seen in their normal size or 2x. Of course, Apple announced and showcased Apps and games that would take full advantage of the iPad. Translation = more money for these iPad Apps and games. New to the iPad is iBooks, which crushes the rumors that Apple was making a device that would replace Amazon’s Kindle. To the contrary, like Amazon’s Kindle reader App for the iPhone or iTouch, the iPad will have a new App for its iBooks featuring books, magazines, newspapers and textbooks that can be purchased on the iBooks store – adding to the App and iTunes store. However, though Amazon has worked with Apple to create this new App reader for the iPad, unlike the Kindle, the iBook App will not only feature color content, but the App itself will use the ePub open source format. Owners of the iPad will also flip pages by swipe or finger-touch versus using a button.
Connections and Accessories
“Conjunction, Junction, What’s Your Function?” Sorry, I couldn’t resist. The iPad comes with a 30-pin connector allowing you to charge the device and connect it to various accessories. There is the standalone iPad Dock, the iPad Keyboard Dock featuring a physical keyboard much like the Apple keyboard without number pad, and the iPad Camera Connection Kit allowing you to import photos and videos directly from your camera’s USB cable or using its SD card. Sold separately will also be the VGA video adapter allowing you to show your content on a projector or TV. And finally, there is the iPad Case to carry and protect your iPad. This case will also serve as a stand to make things like typing and watching movies easier.
How will the reading experience be on the iPad? I know it utilizes IPS technology allowing for better viewing angles, but will the brightness of the screen make reading tired some? Will there be a special brightness setting that will automatically turn on when using iBooks? Also, I know Apple’s promotional video says you can hold it anyway you want, but will the casing be slippery to hold? I am sure every case maker is already lined up to sell some cover or case making it easier to hold and protect. Another question is about iBooks. How much will these books and other periodicals cost us? I hope they won’t be as much as items are for the Amazon Kindle, but personally I think they will be. Wouldn’t it be great if Apple and Amazon offer us a substantial discount if we already own a specific title? As far as Safari, is Apple really not letting us have Flash? Come on, if you want us to have a web browsing experience like on a netbook, give us Flash! Last question about the unknown is this – why did Apple keep using the phrase “goldmine for developers” in its press conference today? Are Apps and games for the iPad really going to be that much higher than Apps and games for the iPhone and iTouch?
Comments and Criticisms
Although I want an iPad, I am not sure why you’re average person will, unless of course, they are looking for a netbook with touch-screen features? I mean, if I own a laptop and carry it around with my iPhone, what real need do I have for this device other than feeling cool and seeing things on a larger screen? Also, if Apple would have included a camera for video conferencing that would have at least justified owning one, but no! And even though books and textbooks, and magazines and newspapers are there on the iPad in full color – why couldn’t I just settle for looking at them online or on my Kindle App for my iPhone? Also, why is there such a low storage capacity for this device? With all those features, most everyone is going to need the larger 64GB model unless they really limit how they use their iPad. Personally, I think Apple should have made models with the following capacity: 64GB, 120GB, and 250GB. I mean, isn’t it a little ironic to brag about being a $50 billion dollar company with excess profits and then say you want to make affordable devices for everyone; but then, you don’t reduce your profit margins on this new device to give people more memory? Also, would it have killed Apple to give us a USB port on this thing so we can directly plug-in our flash drives?
So will you buy one? I probably will, just because I am a tech-junkie and I may be able to justify one with my wife so I can review it for this blog (and she can have a netbook-type computer for using Facebook on the couch). But even if I do, I know Apple is going to come out with a newer iPad next year; and it will probably have higher storage capacity and that darn camera everyone wanted. So who wants to buy my iPad when I sell it to get the newer one when it comes out? LOL