Apple shows off the iPad at last
By CHONG JINN XIUNG firstname.lastname@example.org
PETALING JAYA: After weeks of speculation and anticipation by consumers and industry pundits, the worldwide wait ended when Apple chief executive Steve Jobs finally unveiled the iPad tablet computer in San Francisco yesterday.
The iPad is all that everyone has been anticipating it to be — a large-form tablet that is only 0.5in thick and weighs just 680g.
It features a big 9.7in LED backlit display (1,024 x 768-pixels) with multitouch capabilities and has a built-in accelerometer that allows the device to adjust the screen orientation either in portrait or landscape mode depending how the device is held.
The device runs on a custom 1GHz Apple A4 processor chip that handles both processing and graphics performance. It is also fully network capable with 802.11n WiFi and 3G connectivity.
It will ship with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of Flash memory. Apple claims the device has up to 10 hours of battery life and that it can sit for a month on standby without needing a charge.
Interestingly the iPad syncs with a Mac or PC over the same 30-pin sync cable that the iPhone uses, so it can sync all your photos, music, videos and applications in the same manner.
Apple also said that all applications and files from the App Store, iTunes store and the newly announced iBookstore will automatically sync to a user’s iTunes library.
The iPad doesn’t completely overhaul the iPhone’s touch-driven interface. It is still very much a touch-driven experience so just about anyone who’s used an iPhone will immediately be familiar with the iPad’s interface.
Like a Swiss army knife, the device has a long list of functions that include web surfing, gaming, and reading e-books.
Confident in its web surfing capabilities, Jobs said web browsing on the iPad is like holding the Internet in the palm of your hands.
Users can browse entire webpages using Apple’s Safari browser on the iPad and employ the same finger gestures used on the iPhone to scroll up and down, or flick pictures and pages.
Leveraging on Apple’s large collection of existing applications, the iPad can readily run any native iPhone application from the App Store. The iPad can run them either in their native resolution of 320 x 480-pixels or scale up them up to fit the entire screen.
Apple had several developers to showcase their applications during its press event in San Francisco with Electronic Arts showing off an iPad-optimised Need for Speed: Shift car racing game.
Initial impressions show a rather smooth-running game with high-resolution graphics. Driving the cars in the game is by both touch and motion controls.
Other applications announced for the iPad include a new version of iWorks featuring Pages, Keynote and Numbers that allow users to create text documents, presentations and spreadsheets.
The three applications will be available separately through the App Store for US$9.99 (RM34) each.
Giving the Amazon Kindle a run for its money, the iPad also functions as an e-book reader, courtesy of Apple’s new iBooks application. The iPad will use Apple’s new iBookstore that will feature books from major and independent publishers.
The iPad comes in two versions — one with WiFi and the other with both WiFi and 3G.
It will go on sale in late March, with prices starting at US$499 (RM1,697) for WiFi-only models and up to US$829 (RM2,818) for the WiFi- and 3G-enabled 64GB model.
There was no announcement at the San Francisco event about when the iPad will be available in Malaysia.