Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apple's Jobs unveils new tablet computer, the iPad

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs on Wednesday revealed the culture-changing company's latest must-have device, a touchscreen tablet computer anointed the "iPad." "We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product," said Jobs, who underwent a liver transplant last year and was making just his second public appearance since September. The long-awaited iPad has a 9.7-inch (24.6-centimeter) color screen and resembles an oversized iPhone. It is 0.5 inches (1.3 cms) thick, weighs 1.5 pounds (0.7 kgs) and comes with 16, 32, or 64 gigabytes of flash memory. The cheapest iPad model, with Wi-Fi connectivity and 16GB of memory, is $499 while the most expensive – which includes 3G connectivity and 64GB of memory – costs $829. "I think it's a home run," said Gartner analyst Van Baker. "It becomes a viable alternative to a netbook and I get the 140,000 applications in the App Store. It is a pretty compelling value." Apple said it would start shipping the Wi-Fi version of the iPad, which has a virtual keyboard but can also dock with an external keyboard, in late March. The 3G version will reach the market in late April. The iPad is "unlocked," meaning buyers can pick preferred telecom service providers. Dressed in his trademark blue jeans, black turtleneck and sneakers, Jobs walked around the stage and sat on a couch at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater as he unveiled the hotly anticipated gadget. He showed off various iPad features which include browsing the Web, checking email, working with spreadsheets and charts, playing videogames, listening to music or watching video. Jobs, who appeared thin but healthy, said Apple was launching an online "iBookstore" for the iPad and touted its abilities as an electronic reader of books, newspapers and magazines. "You can have black-and-white, color, video in your books – whatever the author wants," he said. "We think the iPad is going to make a terrific e-book reader, not just for popular books but for textbooks as well. "Amazon has done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle," Jobs said. "We are going to stand on their shoulders." Jobs said the iPad has support from five big publishers and Apple will "open the floodgates for the rest of the publishers starting this afternoon." Some technology analysts believe the iPad will render other e-readers obsolete, while a number of publishers are counting on it to sell digital versions of their publications. The New York Times, Time magazine and National Geographic were among the partners whose content was displayed on the iPad on Wednesday. "We want to make something that combines the best of print and the best of digital," Times digital operations vice president Martin Nisenholtz said as he showed off an early version of an app for the device. "We are incredibly psyched to pioneer the next stage in digital journalism." Besides serving as an e-reader, the iPad runs almost all of the applications available through the Apple App Store for the iPod and iPhone. "If you are thinking about buying a Kindle, you are probably reconsidering that decision. If you are a developer, you have one more reason to develop applications for Apple," said Interpret analyst Michael Gartenberg. Apple simultaneously released a kit for software developers to tailor applications for the iPad. Jobs said he expected the device to carve out a place between the laptop computer and the smartphone. "Do we have what it takes to establish a third category of products in between a laptop and a smartphone?" he asked. "We think we've done it." The iPad is "so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smartphone," he said. He said it has about 10 hours of battery life. Analyst Rob Enderle of Silicon Valley's Enderle Group said the iPad could be "disruptive for a lot of markets." "I have a hard time believing after seeing this that folks are going to want an e-reader that just does plain text and doesn't do format or color," he said. Enderle believed iPads could also pose a threat to hand-held gaming systems and eventually videogame consoles. Gameloft and Electronic Arts showed off slick games they had crafted with just a few weeks of preparation, saying the iPad opens countless "new doors." "We are going to be able to bring all of the other great EA games for the iPhone from the App Store to this device in no time," said Travis Boatman of EA's mobile studios. Apple shares gained 0.94 percent to close at $207.88 on Wall Street, but slipped a tad in after-hours electronic trading. Ranging it at $500 to $830, the newly announced 1.5-pound iPad doesn’t seem to bring much new to the table, despite Apple calling it magical . Here’s a run down of the specs, prices, details of the iPad. Let me know if you find any of the magic. If you want to compare sizes in a chart, check this bad boy out . Pricing WiFi only models are: $499 – 16GB $599 – 32GB $699 – 64 GB 3G models are: $629 – 16GB $729 – 32GB $829 – 64 GB Specs Height: 9.56 inches (242.8 mm) Width: 7.47 inches (189.7 mm) Depth: 0.5 inch (13.4 mm) Weight: 1.5 pounds (.68 kg) Wi-Fi model; 1.6 pounds (.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G model Display 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology with 178-degree viewing angle Touch has been reengineered for the iPad to make it “extremely precise and responsive” 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi) Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating Capacity 16GB, 32GB, 64GB flash memory Processor 1 Ghz Apple A4 chip Sensors Accelerometer Ambient light sensor Battery and Power Built-in 25Whr rechargeable lithium-polymer battery Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system Input and Output Dock connector 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack Built-in speakers Microphone SIM card tray (Wi-Fi + 3G model only) Buttons and controls On off, sleep wake switch Mute Volume up and down Home button Built in Apps Safari Mail Photos Video YouTube iPod iTunes App Store iBooks Maps Notes Calendar Contacts Home Screen Spotlight Search Gaming The iPad will run “almost all of the apps” designed for the iPhone. You can run any of them in normal size or your can expand them to fill your screen. Only two games designed, rather redesigned, for the iPad have been shown off so far: First-person shooter NOVA and Need for Speed: Shift.

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