Apple unveils the iPad

Rumours have been rife on the Net about what Apple is working on, and now the speculation’s over. Apple unveiled their new tablet computer today, called (perhaps a bit cheesily) the iPad.

First impressions are that it’s like a larger, more powerful iPhone. It’s 9.56 inches tall, 7.47 inches wide and just half an inch deep.

iPad users will apparently be able to sync their existing iPhone applications with the device, although an enhanced SDK is being made available to allow programmers to take advantage of the iPad’s specific features. Presumably that means the larger screen. From a consumer point of view it’s nice to think that any apps you’ve already bought for the iPhone will be usable on the iPad. From a developer point of view it’s also great to think that iPhone apps will have a wider audience now, and that there are further opportunities to design for a multitouch device.

There will be two main variants of the iPad – the WiFi only version starting at $499 and the slightly more expensive WiFi and 3G version that starts at $629.

Let me come straight out and say that I think the iPhone is a revolutionary device and, if the iPad follows suit it will be similarly revolutionary. I’m not quite sure where it will fit in the whole Netbook/Laptop scheme of things… not quite a laptop, not quite a PDA.┬áThe iWork office suite was demonstrated at the launch announcement though, so there’s obviously the intention that it’ll be used for serious work. Whatever the target audience, you can be sure there will be plenty of people queuing up to buy one.

The WiFi iPad will be available in the US in 60 days time. For more information check out Apple’s iPad microsite.

There’s not much more on the iPad yet, but for more on the iPhone have a look at some of our most popular iPhone posts.

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  1. James_Smith says:

    My question is, What does it do that cannot already be done, and often done much better by a tablet or netbook? For example, I have a 10 y/o tablet (Walkabout HH3) That does everything the iPad does, holds all 800+ of my free ebooks, so I didn't have to buy anything from am Apple store.

    I concede that the Apple OS is more elegant and reliable and the touchscreen displays now are better, but I got the HH3 for less and I could have bought an older Apple notebook with wifi and a USB port for about the same price. I think there is a large worm in this apple.

  2. Hi James.

    That's a very good question and, if I'm honest, I don't know what the answer is! As I said in the article, I'm not really sure where the iPad will fit in the tech market – it's neither laptop nor PDA, and certainly not a netbook either!

    I think the main drivers of this will be casual users (e.g. someone who just wants to check their e-mails from the comfort of the living room) and hipsters who would buy it no matter what :) I read an article (sorry I can't find it now) that suggested that Apple have deliberately limited what the iPad can do because they don't want to sell users an all-in-one device. If users want a phone, buy an iPhone. If they want a computer, buy a Mac. If they want a portable entertainment/internet device, buy the iPad. I'm not sure if that's actually the case, but it seems to make sense.

    Question is, is that good business or poor customer service? What do you think?

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