Apple has just taken the wraps off its first tablet computer, which it has named the iPad. This upcoming device will greatly resemble a super-size iPhone or iPod touch, and have much of the same functionality.
This slate-shaped computer will be have a 9.7-inch, capacitive, multi-touch display with a 1024-by-768-pixel resolution. It will be half an inch thick and weigh 1.5 pounds.
For home or office, Apple is going to offer an external Keyboard Dock that will allow users to enter text with the device in portrait mode (shown here). It will also support the Apple wireless keyboard.
Software and Services
The iPad will run the iPhone OS on a 1 GHz processor, and come with a suite of software for browsing the Web, exchanging e-mail, and watching video, as well as a calendar and address book.
These apps resemble the ones on the iPhone, but, of course, have been reformatted to take advantage of the much larger screen.
In addition, the iPad be able to run software developed for Apple’s smartphone and handheld computers, without needing them to be modified for the larger screen. These apps can be pixel-doubled to make them fill up most of the display (shown here).
Developers will also be able to create software specifically for this device, taking advantage of its additional features. Companies that were invited to get a head-start include EA Games, New York Times, Amazon.com, and MLB.com.
Naturally, the iPad will support the Apple iTunes service, allowing users to easily purchase music, video, and applications. But it will also have the new iBook Store where customers can buy from publishers like Macmillian, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin Books. This service will use the ePub format.
Apple’s slate computer won’t be all fun and games — there will be a version of iWork for it as well, allowing users to do word processing and spreadsheets.
Wireless: 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
In the wireless department, this tablet computer will sport Wi-Fi (802.11n) plus Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.
But it won’t stop there — some versions of the iPad will also be able to connect to AT&T’s 7.2 Mbps 3G network. Customers will have the option of paying $14.99 for 250 MB of data or $29.99 for a month of unlimited data. This will be pre-paid directly on the slate, and no contract will be required. During the time customers have purchased 3G service, they will also have access to all of AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs says that his company will have arrangements with carriers around the world in a few months. In any case, the iPad will be sold unlocked, and have a micro SIM slot.
While this device will have support for the cellular-wireless data standard HSPA, it will not be able to make voice calls.
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