Apple Launches 9.7" iPad Tablet: Ships In 60 Days Starting At $499

Apple Launches 9.7" iPad Tablet: Ships In 60 Days Starting At $499

Thanks to a loose-lipped CEO, we knew Apple had a tablet device on deck for today's announcement in California. We even spotted a rumored TV spot a few days back, which labeled the device as the "iPad." Turns out, that's exactly what Apple decided to name this.

Apple has today entered an all new market, one that straddles the realms of smartphones and notebooks. It's the tablet PC, which is a market that swelled and died years and years ago. Apple is known for its innovation, though, and it apparently thinks it has the magic elixir necessary to create a tablet in a post-tablet world and still get people interested.

The entire device looks like a giant iPod touch, really. It's 0.5" thin, weighs 1.5 lbs. and has a 9.7" IPS LCD panel (no OLED, sorry!). There's no physical QWERTY keyboard; instead, you are required to type on a virtual keyboard that pops up on the display. From day one, it will be able to download and use all of the applications within the App Store; thanks to a process called "pixel-doubling," existing apps can be blown up to full screen. A new SDK is being revealed to developers today, which will include an iPad simulator for creating apps that specifically work on the larger display.



We also learned that the screen itself is a multi-touch capable, full capacitive display. The power is coming from a 1GHz Apple A4 chip, which is the first actual Apple-produced chips to hit the market. Apple actually acquired P.A. Semi a few years back, and it looks as if this creation is the first fruit of that purchase. Other specifications include a Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR module, 802.11n Wi-Fi, 16GB/32GB/64GB of internal Flash storage, full support for "iBooks" (a new book for this device), a robust Safari-based web browser, YouTube HD playback, an accelerometer, a compass and a killer battery. The battery lasts 10 full hours while watching video, and it can reportedly last for around a month on standby. That's pretty amazing for a device with such a large screen.

Apple also made clear that it's going for the e-reader/newspaper reading market. The iPad is essentially the digital newspaper reader of the future, or so Apple hopes. It has landed numerous content deals with a variety of content partners, including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan. It's clear that these may end up in the education world as well, and we wouldn't be surprised if we heard about textbooks being introduced too.



The iPad has also led to new software. Apple redesigned iLife and iWork to work on the iPad, which has a slower processor and less overall power than other Mac machines. Apple seems confident that its new layout is perfect for mobile document users, but we still aren't sure that this will gain huge traction outside of the Apple faithful. Microsoft's Office suite is still the market leader, and there was no announcement made about an iPad-tailored version of Word, Excel or PowerPoint.

Apple designed the iPad to stay constantly in sync; your photos, music and movies are all kept in check by USB syncing with iTunes. They're also releasing select models with 3G, and some without. The 3G models will ship unlocked, but on AT&T's 3G network; for $14.99 per month with no contract, you can get 250MB of data per month. It will cost $29.99 per month (also without a contract), and the base 16GB model with Wi-Fi (but no 3G) will cost $499. The base price on the 16GB 3G model costs $629, while the most expensive model (64GB with 3G) costs $829. The Wi-Fi models will begin shipping in 60 days, while the 3G versions could ship in around 90 days or so.


All told, this isn't something that we haven't seen before in one way or another. We have seen super-thin slate PCs. We have seen e-readers. And we have seen large-screen portable media players. What Apple has done in the iPad is take something that's familiar and put its own touch on it, with the App Store integration being its biggest calling card. The iPhone revolutionized the smartphone industry, but we can't say that we think the iPad will do the same thing for the tablet/slate industry. Still, people will take interest due to the immense amount of hype that has surrounded this product for years on end, and at least the Apple faithful will be sure to give it a serious look before passing it off as "just another tablet."


Just in, Steve Jobs doing what he does best, demonstrating the new Apple iPad early today at the Apple press event...
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To play devil's advocate:

1. Exclusion of Flash isn't so bad after all. It's CPU-intensive and battery draining, and Youtube as well as some other video sites have switched to H.264/HTML 5.

2. Multi-Tasking is not included because the iPad is being marketed as a media player, and not a fully functional computer. It's a shame, but that's the route that Apple has taken. At least this saves battery life.

3. The 4:3 resolution. Some have indicated that the position of the Home button implies that the iPad was meant to be used in portrait mode. Meaning, it was first meant to be read like an e-reader and a movie player second.

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The one thing about Apple hardware much like the PC's they make things are locked or left out, abd the only way to use them is add hardware and hack the OS of that device. This applies to the battery issues non inclusion of Flash etc with them and really I just don't get it as it would seem to me and does personally that the more functions the better on any device.

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Why Apple does not think that way is totally beyond me!

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gibbersome:

To play devil's advocate:

1. Exclusion of Flash isn't so bad after all. It's CPU-intensive and battery draining, and Youtube as well as some other video sites have switched to H.264/HTML 5.

2. Multi-Tasking is not included because the iPad is being marketed as a media player, and not a fully functional computer. It's a shame, but that's the route that Apple has taken. At least this saves battery life.

3. The 4:3 resolution. Some have indicated that the position of the Home button implies that the iPad was meant to be used in portrait mode. Meaning, it was first meant to be read like an e-reader and a movie player second.

1. H.264 also kills battery. The reason why lots of sites run flash is because they don't want to have to test their site on every single browser every time the site or a browser gets updated. Another thing is that  H.264 isn't free to developers, which is why firefox (as an open source browser) refuses to support it.

2. You are right, but this may be one of the main reasons this device doesn't explode into the market like the ipod or iphone.

3. The problem with that is the glossy screen, meaning you have to have perfect conditions (shade/no direct light, not too bright lighting, etc.) to do any reading, the screen was really made for using the apps & watching video and e-reading 2nd. Also the use of a capacitive touch screen rules out any decent handwriting recognition, which I thought was one of the main points of having a tablet (computerized notes/text documents on the fly).

It will get sales, but the announcement of what this device actually is after all the hype and rumoured awesomeness leaves me disappointed and waiting for the next company to try to make a tablet that this device should have been (and if they do, this device doesn't have a chance, let's hope that the ipad actually spurs some creative tablet development!).

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Yeah Soup that is one thing I see coming from this device development which was probably called for by several companies during the conference itself. SO maybe things will get truly hopping on this market. The opinion that Apple will loose there but on this one sparks some recognition, but I don't know. They have enough iPhone addicts that it will not be a wash either way. I also say there's enough that are only familiar with Apple from the iPhone or touch iPod as well, but mainly the phone who will just buy this because it is an over sized iPhone with a differing function set that is tied in.

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lol why  does apple make most of there products look so chubby :D

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Soupstyle:

1. H.264 also kills battery. The reason why lots of sites run flash is because they don't want to have to test their site on every single browser every time the site or a browser gets updated. Another thing is that  H.264 isn't free to developers, which is why firefox (as an open source browser) refuses to support it.

2. You are right, but this may be one of the main reasons this device doesn't explode into the market like the ipod or iphone.

3. The problem with that is the glossy screen, meaning you have to have perfect conditions (shade/no direct light, not too bright lighting, etc.) to do any reading, the screen was really made for using the apps & watching video and e-reading 2nd. Also the use of a capacitive touch screen rules out any decent handwriting recognition, which I thought was one of the main points of having a tablet (computerized notes/text documents on the fly).

It will get sales, but the announcement of what this device actually is after all the hype and rumoured awesomeness leaves me disappointed and waiting for the next company to try to make a tablet that this device should have been (and if they do, this device doesn't have a chance, let's hope that the ipad actually spurs some creative tablet development!).

Flash kills battery too. When it comes down to it, we need a genuine alternative to Flash. All in all, I agree with you. I was playing devil's advocate as an intellectual exercise.

The iPad is generally disappointing. That won't stop Apple stores from having lines several blocks long when it becomes available though.

The capacitive screen must have been a dilemma for Apple. As you noted, tablets were initially intended as handwriting recognition tools, but without implementing a resistive screen this isn't possible. People have come to love the responsiveness of the iPhone and would be dismayed if the iPad was different. Perhaps if the resistive screen could be integrated to the iPad somehow, as an accessory of some sort.

The iPad's Achilles heel remains AT&T beleaguered 3G network. Will people be willing to pay another $30/month to subsidize their Apple addiction?

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the addiction question/point is very valid I really don't see Apples decision as even being logical in many points At&t lock, screen, flash and on and on.

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