Apple unveil iPad
Apple CEO Steve Jobs took to the stage at the hardware and software giant's sizeable press event in California today, unveiling the long speculated iPad - a tablet device.
Jobs describes the new tablet computer as "a magical and revolutionary product," a middle-ground between laptops and smartphones. He adds that this hybrid creation is for "doing email. Enjoying and sharing pics. Watching videos. Enjoying music. Playing games. Reading ebooks."
From a videogaming perspective the iPad offers full support for all iPhone apps, including games - supporting the ability to scale up software to fill the screen. App developers will also be able to create apps dedicated to the iPad, taking advantage of the larger display.
Some game developers are already working on titles for the device, and Gameloft showed off their new FPS called Nova. The player can control the new game with gestures and we're told you can customise these, too. EA were - as rumoured - also in attendance, Travis Boatman introducing Need for Speed on the iPad, the new game looking to be somewhere between a PC and an iPhone title. MLB.com is also being spruced up for the iPad, we learn.
Talking specifically, the iPad is the size of a small laptop screen, 9.7 inches - with a slim profile (0.5 inches) - the display rotating like the iPhone. A unique interface was shown off, and everything is focussed on the touch-screen interface (again like the iPhone). 3G mobile support (via GSM micro SIMs) will be included in certain models of the iPad, and there will be a non-contract monthly fee for this. For 14.99 USD in the US users will get a 250Mb monthly data allowance, or they can get unlimited data for 29.99 USD (as part of a 'breakthrough' deal with AT&T).
The iPad is focussed on super-slick web browsing (no Flash by the look of things, though), but Jobs tells us it is also good for watching films, writing emails and more, the CEO keen to talk the unique interface, a cross between a traditional PC and the iPhone. iBooks (a digital book service) will launch alongside the iPad, and there is a new iWorks suite being developed to boot.
A 1GHz Apple A4 chip is under the hood, with 16Gb, 32Gb and 64Gb Flash storage options available. An accelerometer and compass join WiFi, a microphone and Bluetooth on the multi-touch device. Apparently battery life will run to 10 hours, and standby mode will work for over a month.
International 3G deals promise to be in place by June. The cheapest iPad (16Gb Flash) will cost 499 USD when it launches in the US (629 USD with 3G). The 32Gb model will cost 599 USD (729 USD with 3G), the 64Gb model 699 USD (829 USD with 3G). Standard units will be heading to stores within 60 days, 3G systems within 90. Cases, dock and keyboard accessories are en route.
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