The Apple iPad — What You Need to Know

107 Comments

Image credit: Engadget

Updated with additional specifications and images from Apple. After much hype, speculation and years of waiting, Apple introduced the world to its new tablet, the iPad. Here’s a brief rundown on this multi-functional, multi-touch device that looks like a bigger version of the iPhone. What’s most astounding is the reasonable pricing and no-contract, low-cost deals for 3G connectivity. Looks like I did OK on my earlier predictions, although I priced it too high.

Display: 9.7″ IPS capacitive display, resolution unknown as of yet. Resolution of 1024 x 768

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Thickness: 0.5″

CPU: The Apple A4, a 1GHz ARM-based CPU powers the iPad.

Input: An on-screen keyboard is used for text, or an optional keyboard can be used. Gestures and touch also work. There is no handwriting input or recognition.

Connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, a U.S. contract-free 3G option is available for $14.99 for 250 MB per month or unlimited for $29.99 a month on AT&T (s t) which includes free AT&T hotspots. International deals by June, but all iPad 3G models are unlocked.

Storage: 16 to 64 GB of flash memory

Battery: Integrated 25 W/hr battery rated at 10 hours of video watching, web surfing over Wi-Fi or listening to audio.

Peripherals: A keyboard dock will charge the iPad. A case will also be available.

Pricing: $499 for the base model with 16GB. $599 for 32 GB. $699 for 64GB. 3G adds $130 to any non-3G model.

Availability: Shipping in 60 days for Wi-Fi models, 3G models to follow 30 days later.

Applications: Apple leveraged the existing iPhone app store so all current apps will run on it. Apps can be pixel-doubled for full-screen usage. YouTubeHD videos will play in full screen. There appears to be no support for Adobe (s adbe) Flash. E-book content will be available through the new iBooks application — prices look higher than on Amazon (s amzn). iWork is completely redesigned for use on the iPad, complete with gesture input and interaction.

107 Comments

Jasen

Yes but one better, it reminded me of those Android homescreen shots on the… was it Dell Netbook? either way I remember thinking how sparse, and rather unnatural it looked.

James Kendrick

I too find it surprising that the iPad weights 1.5 lbs. Given how thin the device is, and the fact the weight is evenly distributed, I think it will be comfortable to use. I did hope it would be lighter, however.

I had indicated way back when that the iPad would be a large iPhone, and that’s basically what it is (sans the phone bit). I can see buying one for my own use, without the 3G. I think Wi-Fi would be sufficient for me and avoid the extra expense and monthly data fee.

Of course, I already have a Verizon MiFi so I’d end up just using that over Wi-Fi on the iPad.

I have some detailed thoughts in the works about the whole enchilada.

James Kendrick

I believe Mr. Calacanis is full of it. I saw his first tweets yesterday. Believe me, if he did have an iPad of any sort it was under such an iron-clad NDA he could NOT have been saying anything about it.

Blah

30$ a month for at&t shotty 3g. Hell the kindle offers FREE 3g. Buy a laptop, save your money.

JBloc. k

I wonder when they combine this with Iphone 4.0 though, with its predicted multitasking abilities, what this will grow into. I really was hoping to see a webcam though.

Scott

Expect two things:

1. iPhone OS 4.0 will have multitasking.

2. A satellite industry in all the hardware that someone thinks the iPad *should* have had, especially cameras. In a way, this might be good: got a specialized use case that needs a little bit of hardware support? Create a lightweight device that clamps to the bezel (one more time when large bezels are useful!) or serves as a stand-up dock, and an app to go with it. I’m thinking specifically of a multi-input audio interface for musicians, but there are other obvious applications.

Pam T.

The killer is no multi-tasking, until the jail-breaking crowd gets their grubby paws on it.

We’re we also expecting iPhone 4.0 announcements today?

Sammy

Apple just pulled a Foleo. It’s THAT bad.
Why would anyone buy this over a netbook tablet?
What a waste.

Scott

Because some of us hate the convertible tablet form factor and are not generally keen on the idea of running Win7 in touch mode? Just sayin’.

Michal M.

That’s why I’ll rather wait and see some Android based devices.

@Scott: Don’t know the drawbacks of Win7 touch mode – standard Win7 on my EeePC runs just fine+standard input methods. Could you comment/direct me to a relevant discussion?

Eric

Color me unimpressed. I have a Macbook. Now that’s an impressive laptop. This thing is no use to me at home or at work…and I’m in the education field. As a complete techofile/technogeek/computer-guy, if I can’t find a use for it in the classroom, no one I know will. If they do, they are just replacing a much more powerful device (laptop or tablet pc) with this for the cool factor. My final opinion is, of course, an overhyped product that isn’t as cool as my M-1400 tablet pc years ago.

Gavin Miller

Some hands on stuff over on Engadget:

* It’s not light. It feels pretty weighty in your hand.
* The screen is stunning, and it’s 1024 x 768. Feels just like a huge iPhone in your hands.
* The speed of the CPU is something to be marveled at. It is blazingly fast from what we can tell. Webpages loaded up super fast, and scrolling was without a hiccup. Moving into and out of apps was a breeze. Everything flew.
* There’s no multitasking at all. It’s a real disappointment. All this power and very little you can do with it at once. No multitasking means no streaming Pandora when you’re working in Pages… you can figure it out. It’s a real setback for this device.
* The ebook implementation is about as close as you can get to reading without a stack of bound paper in your hand. The visual stuff really helps flesh out the experience. It may be just for show, but it counts here.
* No camera. None, nada. Zip. No video conferencing here folks. Hell, it doesn’t have an SMS app!
* It’s running iPhone OS 3.2.
* The keyboard is good, not great. Not quite as responsive as it looked in the demos.

Bic

As for reading books on this, let’s rename it iStrain — wonder how long the battery will last when reading books. Given the price, monthly feel, $130 extra for 3G, and screen type for reading, I don’t think it will be a Kindle-killer. It’s just a flat netbook!

Jeff Dickey

I can (mostly) see that; and I’m wondering about the “iStrain”, particularly outside in natural light. (Indoors, it’ll be just like my other Mac displays that I sit in front of 12 hours a day.)

If I do wind up getting one – and I’m not absolutely sold on the idea yet, surprisingly – I’ll get the 3G version. I learned my lesson with the iPod Touch; the times you absolutely, positively NEED to get online are the times you won’t be in range of any usable WiFi.

Beyond that, I’ve got one serious, conceptual beef with the way this is being pitched, as I blogged today. http://archlever.blogspot.com/2010/01/whats-wrong-with-this-picture.html

Fernando

And my wife says that “iPad” sounds like a femenine hygiene product !!!

TateJ

This will be a cool device that I will probably buy once the early adopter tax is lifted. I can see this replacing my BeBook which I use at work for carring around pdfs and word documents. And I get all the great multimedia, web and gaming.

I’ll reserve final judgement until I can put my hands on one in a store.

sheikhhasan

so many things missing, a camera, a mic, flash support, simultaneously running multiple apps.
Further wish list tv tuner, usb ports (external memory), gsm phone calls.
I am sure pretty soon next generation will be released with at least camera.

Scott

I’m *really* surprised by the price point. Even the 64GB 3G-less model is within my budget. (Of course, I’d need to buy a case for it, and probably a Bluetooth keyboard of some kind eventually.) There are a number of things missing, but most of them I can live without: camera, GPS on non-3G model. I’m a little surprised that there’s no Flash support, and even more so that there’s no multitasking – does Apple think that we’ll never need to switch between word processing and web browsing, for example? On the other hand, that’s probably something that can be solved in an OS upgrade, and as long as I can listen to music while I’m doing other stuff (which definitely works on the iPhone), I can probably work around that limitation. And the immediate availability of all the iPhone/iPod Touch apps, combined with Apple’s content ecosystem (now expanded to books), makes this a really attractive package. I’m thinking I’ll probably buy one.

Fernando

I could see myself getting one of these if I can use it for “productive” purposes. I mean, can I really create a document, presentation or spreadsheet in this format? Can this REALLY replace a laptop/tablet pc? No inking capabilities, so how do I take notes?

tfserna

@Gavin Miller: “Pogo pen on an updated Evernote app”

I think you hit it on the head Gavin. I was hoping for a native inking app from Apple… as it looks like that isn’t going to happen, I guess a pogo pen or similar on an updated evernote or similar app would be the only way to go…

Another possibility is for Apple reacting to perhaps low sales at the biz sector and rolling out the app themselves later on…

Baz

Yet no USB for (a majority of) printers, so users will still need to communicate via wi-fi or a paid 3G Plan with a ‘real’ computer – like, say, even a netbook – to make iWorks as useful as it could be.

Then again, with no multitasking, its not as if you can listen to your favorite iTunes purchase and do work at the same time anyway…

Not so much an iPad as a Maxi-Touch – and yes, either way it sounds like a feminine hygiene product…

TB

iTunes plays in the background on the iPhone, at least while I’m surfing the web or using email.

Baz

I stand corrected. Partly. Still, no true multi-tasking, though.

And, at $500+ for the most basic of units, the iPad remains essentially a content delivery device for iTunes with less practical functionality than my $350 netbook. Pity really…

pete

And by the way, who do they have working on the device in the first photo, ET the extraterrestrial?

John

It will likely kill off the Kindle DX.

I love the fact that the iBook uses epub format… makes me think that my Sony Reader purchases might hopefully work on it.

Joshua Blankenship

Strange move on Amazon’s part… Fighting against not only the Kindle, but .awz format. People will still buy the Kindle, much cheaper and rugged, and you don’t feel bad to throw it around. But betraying their own DRM? Odd…

John

I am guessing that the iPhone Kindle App will always be there, allowing current Kindle owners to use this. And now hopefully we Sony users.

I just do not see why anyone would pay $489 for the DX when this is available in base form for $10-$140 more.

I do think Amazon need to open up themselves to ePub though…

Joshua Blankenship

True… but eInk is the big competition point. I’m still waiting for Tegra/Pixel Qi combos. Perhaps Amazon will release such a device? ;)

gmazin

I don’t see an e-ink screen on this thing, so no, no it wont.

This whole device looks disappointing. All it is an oversized iPod touch.

Pam T.

Don’t need e-ink with Kindle app. I run it on the iPhone and my PC.

Tony

Unless the “unlimited” (probably 5G cap) 3G plans include tethering/PAM, I don’t think they are that great a deal — it’s about the same as adding a data pack to a cell phone (or same as the Sprint Relay data plan, which does allow tethering — and requires a contract). 250MB/month is useless.

Price is lower than I expected, but I think still too high except for the Apple obsessed.

Pam T.

I don’t think there will be a cap. They appear to be piggy-backing on the iPhone data plan, which is unlimited.

Miles Holt

I’m not so sure about that. I think I am a heavy data user on my 3GS and I just looked at my last six months of bills and I have only used more that 250mb only twice, and that was only by one mb, so at ATT rates those two months would have only cost me an extra $5 in overages… I wish they had a 250mb plan for my iphone. It would save me every month.

No I really wish I could tether my iphone. Then I’d have a good reason for unlimited data on it for VPN use to the office.

scoobie

I am not an apple fanboy but I can, despite the shortcomings, see me buying one of these as I like the OS for its instant on capability. At home , at least 50% of my time is spent surfing on an ipod touch already.

I see no-one buying the 3G versions at all.

Pam T.

I would. Simply because I can’t wi-fi at work. But a 3g connection would get me out into the cloud.

Pam T.

It’s a giant Touch, upgraded. Useful as a combination media player, ebook reader, and web surfer device, light gaming…a “waste some time in the dentist’s waiting room” device.

The price is attractive, and the 3g AT&T connection isn’t a half bad offer either.

But I’ll wait for the HP Slate to come out before making a decision.

rolisize

HP slate, Archos 9, even the joojoo tablet look better than the ipad. What a letdown!

aj

I agree, all the other tablets that are already out or announced beats this iPad. This thing is more useless than a netbook. It’s just an oversized iPhone for people with big fingers. No Adobe Flash support and it just runs iPhone/iPod Touch apps (plus some iPad specific ones).

I’d rather just buy an iPhone over this thing. If I where to get a tablet, I’d wait for the HP Slate or get the Archos 9.

Even though this iPad device is pretty useless compared to other similar devices, I’m sure Apple’s great marketing will trick people into buying it. From reading the comments here I could already tell marketing is working.

prethought

I have my Mac netbook (ala Dell 10v) arriving tomorrow. Still infinitely more useful to me when traveling light than the iPad. Can’t believe they didn’t develop their own processor since they acquired that company last year. Maybe in future iterations.

Gavin Miller

1024×768 res. Same size, shape and res as our beloved TC1100’s. Not using widescreen is a good thing as it’s more natural for reading documents etc. in portrait.

pete

I hate to be negative, but I really can’t imagine that many business users being interested in this.

It looks like more of a novelty, entertainment type gadget, rather than a truly utilitarian type device. You will still need to take a laptop with you on trip to be truly productive and efficient, and a laptop can do all this can plus more.

It will have it’s niche market though, and I think it will sell well. People who want to sit on the couch for 20-30 minutes, get comfortable, and check their e-mail or browse the web. Although I don’t see why you wouldn’t just use your i-phone for that? Seems sort of redundant to purchase both i-phone, i-pad, and still have another primary laptop.

Scott

But for people like me, who have neither an iPhone nor a laptop (and I realize that you’re all unable to grasp this concept, but there it is), and who is more interested in portable content consumption than content creation, this is a pretty attractive device.

aj

Why don’t you just buy a netbook. Having a full desktop OS will allow you to consume more content more conveniently than a mobile OS.

The Acer Aspire 1810T is great choice at $600. It also has H.264 hardware acceleration which would allow you to play 1080p video files and Flash movies with the upcoming Adobe Flash 10.1 (the beta works great so far).

If you want smaller then you could get the MSI Wind U110 or any other netbook that uses the Intel Atom Z530 and GMA 500 which also has H.264 hardware acceleration.

Joe T.

The differentiator I see is that this is the first large-ish device with a temp data plan.

Going on a business trip, or vacation? Shell out $30 that month. Otherwise, just use wi-fi.

Not for everybody. But a nice size and form factor between a phone and a laptop. Want something more capable in that size range? Get a Tablet PC or some slate PC coming out soon.

Scott

@aj: because I don’t want a netbook. I want a slate tablet. If it wasn’t the iPad, it would be the eDGe or the Notion Ink Adam or something else in a touch-style device with no physical keyboard. Again, I realize that the fact that I do not own, and have never owned, either a laptop/notebook/netbook or a smartphone makes me something of a rare bird around here, but there it is. I want a slate, and given the available options, I think I’m gonna go with the iPad.

Gavin Miller

No matter what we think, this thing is going to sell shedloads imho.

I could maybe seeing myself using it for business, particularly meeting notes in Evernote, keeping all my notes/tech info, interactive service demonstrations, mindmaps etc. all available now from Apps. With a robust connection and the keyboard I’d see myself using Logmein. A nipple for a mouse would be good though…

Now, I assume that you can redownload all your existing iPhone apps for free, just like you can do on multiple iPhones/iPod touches. Certainly hope so!

Joe

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that it’ll sell a ton, just by virtue of being an Apple product. I just haven’t been shown anything that screams out “this is why we need this”.

Joshua Blankenship

Actually quite surprised. But no flash, so streaming from Hulu, etc. is a no go – very disappointing. And I haven’t seen anything about a headphone jack? That’s quite odd. The iPhone OS is kind of a let down. It’s temping, even to me. But too much is missing. HP’s slate running full Win7 seems like a better deal to me, perhaps. Besides that, we’re gunna see a slew of these devices with Tegra looming on the shores. I’m waiting. I honestly think the iPad is just the beginning.

Tom Mac

Agreed… fiq the price would be $200 more for base model.

But, I’ll be staying wing my Fujitsu p1620 for now.

Kevin C. Tofel

The price is indeed surprising and I personally won’t consider a purchase until I spend some extended time with the on-screen keyboard. I gather that most people will snag the keyboard dock, which serves too purposes. I’m also shocked about the 3G plans — no-contract is great, although you’ll have to ante up the $130 for the 3G functionality to begin with.

Paul Frost

Actually this price point isn’t surprising when you think of what this isn’t:
a) A game changer
b) Worth more than $300 if it was from anyone else
And c) (the biggie) That most of the revenue from this will come in app/iBook/iTunes etc. sales

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