27
Jan
2010

The Apple iPad Tablet Makes Its Debut

Written by  |  under Gadgets, Technology

At last the Apple Tablet rumors can die, but was it worth the long wait?

Steve Jobs finally lifted the veil of secrecy around the Apple Tablet today and revealed it as a device named the iPad. The unfortunate name choice aside, is it going to be worth the purchase?

The answer to that depends entirely on what your needs are going to be with such a device.  Unlike other items in the market, the iPad does not solve an existing problem.  The iPhone made smartphones truly smart, netbooks solved size problems for those that didn’t want to lug full sized laptops around, the iPod solved music issues, but the iPad … solves nothing.  There is no doubt that it is intriguing, and the implications of this device could be far reaching for years as other device manufacturers try to come up with their own solutions to answer this new challenge.

What you have could easily be described as over-sized iPod Touch, but at the same time it isn’t.  Yes, it will run the majority of the current 140,000 iPhone/iPod Touch applications, but due to its 9.7-inch screen, it will be able to handle a lot more.  App developers were able to download a new SDK (software development kit) that will allow them to develop for the 1024 x 768 resolution and the 1GHz processor.

Beyond the usual iPod Touch features, the iPad will also run the iWork office suite which means you can do word processing, spreadsheets and presentations, and although the screen will have a robust touch keyboard, writing a full document that way could quickly get tiring.  That’s why Apple is releasing a keyboard dock that allows you to plug the device into a physical keyboard, and to me that is where this device gets interesting.

Unfortunately no price was mentioned for the keyboard, but as a professional blogger I see where this could have a fairly large impact on journalism.  Yes, laptops are portable, but say you go to a news story, quickly pound out some notes on the screen keyboard, and then get back in your car, plug into the dock, and you can write up your full story on the fly.  You can then transmit the story via Wi-Fi or 3G depending on the model you purchased.

As a blogger, I am really intrigued by the possibilities here.  Could I blog easily from anywhere without carrying around a much heavier laptop?

Where this really gets complicated is when you look at the new iBook e-reader app.  You have a full book store you can purchase from, and while the Amazon Kindle better be quaking in its boots, the true star of this is the potential down the road.

Text books.

The game changer the education system has been waiting for may have just dropped into their laps.  A full-color e-reader that could properly display any type of text book.  Art?  No problem.  Statistics that needs to show all sorts of graphs?  Go for it.  Every college book store better start thinking now about what their futures will be like without … well … books.  There is no way that textbook publishers aren’t going to study the heck out of this thing and analyze that huge costs they will be able to cut in materials, printing, transport and so on.  I would say within 3 to 4 years you will see the first text books that have no print counterpart.

And don’t even get me started on what this could mean for comic books.

So, down to the business part of this:

iPad Specs

So, what is under the hood of the iPad?  What will be powering this newest entry from Apple into the consumer market?

  • Memory capacities of 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • 1GHz Apple A4 chip
  • .5-inches thick
  • 1.5 lbs
  • 9.7-inch screen, 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Speaker & microphone
  • Accelerometer & compass
  • 10 hour battery life, one month standby
  • 3G connectivity for $30 a month via AT&T without contract.

iPad Price

And then comes the price.  The prevailing rumor leading up to today had been that we would be seeing a price of $1000, which Steve Jobs made mention of on stage at the introduction, and then he floored us with the following price chart.

16GB

32GB

64GB

Wi-Fi

$499

$599

$699

WiFi + 3G

$629

$729

$829

So, what say you? Is it going to be worth it?

Check out my other posts from today on the iPad:

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