Steve Jobs is showing off the new Apple tablet called iPad. Looks like it has a 9.7" IPS capacitive multi-touch screen, Safari web browser, email client, Google Maps, iPhone like icons, YouTube, YouTube HD and iTunes store support. It runs on Apple's own 1 GHz A4 CPU, and Jobs claims it can run for up to 10 hours on a charge.
Other hardware features include an accelerometer, GPS, WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR and a compass. It's a half inch thick and weighs 1.5 pounds.
The iPad has (don't groan too loud now) AT&T 3G HSDPA for connectivity when you're not near WiFi. Apple and AT&T have worked out a significantly cheaper data plan of $30/month for unlimited data which is half the price of AT&T and other carriers' unlimited notebook data plans. So basically, it's the same data plan price as the iPhone. There's also a $15/month data plan for 250 megs/month (watch out, 250 megs goes like that!).
What is totally awesome is that there's no contract requirement! Don't need your data plan anymore? Just axe it, and you start again later if you wish. That bit is managed directly on the iPad. Yes!!!!
It can run iPhone apps and it can pixel double for stuff like games that were designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch's smaller screen. No promises that pixel-doubled apps will look sharp though.
Again like the iPhone, the iPad has a photo viewer (photo slide shows), you can read ebooks on it and it has an on screen keyboard. It syncs to iTunes over USB just like the iPod and iPhone.
New for the iPad is the iBook application for eBooks with 5 major book publishers on board. Happily, it uses standard ePUB format, so we won't be fighting with yet another format and DRM standard. There's an iBook Store and the purchase experience looks similar to the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader Daily Edition where books automatically download to the iPad. No idea if you can load your own books in ePUB format since we haven't seen mention of a file manager of any kind.
Also new is iWork for the tablet. This is a re-designed version of the iWork Office suite that we've seen on the Mac, and it seems to be very finger and on-screen keyboard friendly. We hope you can use that Bluetooth connection for an external keyboard!
There are 6 total versions of the iPad, 3 with WiFi and 3 with WiFi and 3G.
WiFi only: $499 for 16 gig, $599 for 32 gigs, $699 for 64 gigs.
WiFi + 3G: $629 for 16 gigs, $729 for 32 gigs and $829 for 64 gigs.
The WiFi-only version will be available in 60 days.
The WiFi + 3G model will be available in 90 days.
That's a long time to wait and cool down from non-essential gadget lust, no?
This is almost exactly what I've been wanting, ditching the "phone" part and then doing twice as much as an iPhone for half the price! Too bad I'm still stuck under contract paying for the expensive iPhone plan for two years... ugh.
-------------------- Chief iPod Correspondent
Senior Time Waster
Captain of the Planet Express
Assistant Jedi Librarian