28/01/2010

Apple release their tablet or is it a sanitary pad

Apple has released their long rumoured tablet (well announced it anyway, it's not actually available for a couple of months in WiFi only versions or 3 months for the 3G version) and it's actually called the iPad.

It comes with an Apple designed 1GHz CPU called the A4 (using the skills of the chip design company Apple bought recently) which is ARM based. Apple don't specify how much memory (RAM) it comes with, but storage comes in 16/32/64 GB of Flash.

The screen is a very crisp 9.7" LED backlit IPS display which is of course (multi) touch sensitive. Battery life is 10 hours of use and it comes with a 30pin dock connector. WiFi is 802.11n.

Unfortunately the iPad is more like a big iPhone rather than a MacBook and uses the iPhone OS. Developers need to download the new iPhone SDK version 3.2 to take advantage of the new features and directly support the iPad (it will run existing iPhone/iPod Touch apps out the box). It syncs with a PC/Mac using iTunes just like an ipod Touch.

Apple have released a version of iWork for the iPad that's compatible with the Mac versions but optimised for a touch screen. iWork actually means Numbers, Pages and Keynote and the iPad versions cost $9.99 each available from the App store.

The iPad itself costs $499 for the 16GB, $599 for the 32GB and $699 for the 64GB. 3GB versions come in at $130 more (which is $629, $729 and $829 respectively). There's not yet any European pricing or availability.

As a suped-up iPhone/iPid Touch, the iPad also doesn't have multitasking capability (yet) and there's also no on-board camera though these can be added as accessories through the dock (a Keyboard/iPad dock will be available on launch). Once nice feature is the iBook store which allows iPad users to download books, papers and magazines. The eBook element of the iPad has been done nicely so tapping the right of the screen flips the page forward - this might actually be the killer app, though you could also buy a Kindle (who now also allow writing apps) or a Nook.
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