For months, we’ve been reporting rumors of a tablet-type of computer that Apple would produce to compete with the influx of popular netbooks. Finally, during a major press conference on Wednesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage and unveiled a new line of Apple Products, the iPad.
The iPad has a 9.7-inch, LED-backlit, IPS display armed with a “remarkably precise” multi-touch screen. It weighs just 1.5 pounds and is 0.5 inches thin, meaning that it is easy enough to carry around and use just about anywhere. The screen technology makes it perfect for watching movies or showing off photos and is designed to work in portrait or landscape mode. It uses a display technology called IPS and has a wide 178-degree viewing angle. This allows users to get a vibrant picture with excellent color and contrast from just about any angle you might be viewing the iPad at.
The multi-touch screen on the iPad uses the same popular technology that is in the iPhone and iPod Touch. For the iPad, however, the technology has been reengineered for the larger surface to make it extremely precise and responsive. This means that when you zoom in on a map or flick through photos, the iPad will respond with incredible accuracy.
One feature that Apple is touting is that this unit is extremely thin and light. The screen, as mentioned before, is 9.7 inches when measured diagonally. There’s a slight curve to the back, which makes it easy to pick up and hold comfortably.
The battery life of the iPad is promoted to last up to 10 hours. Apple engineers used the same lithium polymer battery technology they developed for the notebooks and applied it to the iPad. Thanks to this technology, Apple says that users can enjoy their iPad for up to 10 hours while surfing the Web on WiFi, watching videos, or listening to music.
The iPad has all of the wireless features that you’d expect. It has built-in 802.11n functionality to take advantage of the fastest current wireless technologies in place and automatically locate available WiFi networks. A few taps will be all that it takes to join any network that your iPad will find. It also comes with Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, which will let you connect to devices like wireless headphones and Apple’s wireless keyboard.
The iPad will also have 3G models available with data speeds up to 7.2 MB per second depending upon the 3G connection. That means that if you are somewhere that does not have a WiFi connection, you will be able to hop on the AT&T 3G network.
Inside the iPad is a custom A4 chip designed by Apple. It is said to be extremely powerful and, at the same time, power efficient. This will allow the iPad to run productivity applications and games with a good amount of speed. The iPad will come with 16, 32, or 64 GB of flash storage, which should give plenty of room for photos, movies, music, apps, and games.
The 30-pin dock connector sits at the bottom of the iPad and allows you to connect to accessories like a camera connection kit of the keyboard dock. The built-in speakers are touted as being powerful and rich, making movie watching a fun experience. There is also a headphone jack and a built-in microphone.
The iPad will ship in 60 days according to Jobs. The units will come in regular and 3G versions, which will have 16, 32, and 64 GB models. The data plans available will be $14.99 for up to 250 MB per month to $29.99 for unlimited data. There are no contracts required for either option and free access to AT&T WiFi Hotspots is included.
The iPad will cost just $499 for the 16 GB edition, which is well below where experts were pricing the entry-level Apple tablet. The 32 GB model is $599, while the 64GB model is $699. The models that have WiFi + 3G will be $629 for 16 GB, $729 for 32 GB, and $829 for 64 GB.