The iPad Arrives!
The day has finally come. With the usual flourish and presentation skills only Steve Jobs can muster, the iPad came into existence over the course of an hour and a half today. Initial reactions are still starting to come in but my personal impression is that Apple has largely hit all the marks they had too.
The iPad will come in 16, 32, and 64GB models with 802.11n WiFi standard and models with optional 3G connectivity through GSM micro-SIMs. As demoed during the keynote, the iPad will run a variant of iPhone OS that executes all existing App Store applications out of the box but will also support purpose-built apps through a special SDK released today. Existing apps will either run in a 1:1 pixel black box or can be scaled up natively. It was hard to tell exactly how app performance and video looked since I wasn’t actually in attendance but all indications point to the usual beauty of an Apple display. The following hardware specs were detailed in the keynote:
- 0.5″ thick
- 1.5 lbs.
- 9.7″ IPS screen
- 1GhZ A4 processor – The A4 is a purpose-built, Apple designed processor.
- 802.11n WiFi
- BlueTooth 2.1
- dock connector
- 10 hours of battery life
As anticipated, Apple is also entering the eReader market with the introduction of the iBook application and associated iBook Store. Users of the iPad can now buy, browse, and read eBooks from their new device. The iPad has certainly put the Kindle on notice and it will be interesting how the two fight it out. Instead of being a purpose-built device that does other things, as the Kindle was destined to become, the iPad is a device that does lots of things including eBooks. That versatility automatically puts Kindle at a disadvantage.
Speculation on pricing had pegged the iPad up in the $1000 range. Much to the relief of potential customers everywhere, the base WiFi-only model of the iPad starts at $499 and increases by $100 for each jump in storage. If you want the 3G model that adds another $130 on top of that. At such an aggressive pricing strategy, Apple is poised to run the competition out of the market. A versatile device capable of most computing tasks that starts at $499? Wow.
The only 3G packages announced today where through AT&T in the US; $14.99/month for 250MB/month and $29.99 for unlimited data. Those are great prices and hopefully that translates well to international deals. The 3G module is enabled from the iPad itself and the data plan is month to month, no contracts.
Of primary concern to most Touch Reviews readers though will be the gaming implications. EA demoed an iPad-specific version of Need for Speed Shift and Gameloft demoed N.O.V.A. All available indications seemed to suggest that this will be a killer mobile gaming device. It will retain all of the control mechanisms you’re familiar with from the iPhone and put it on a display more than twice the size you’re used to. How great will that be?
So when will all of this be available? 60 days from today for the WiFi only versions and 90 days if you want 3G connectivity. After that, all bets are off and I think Apple’s competition better run for their lives. The iPad is finally here and although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles predicted for it, Apple has delivered a solid package again. Now go save your pennies, you’re going to want one of these.
By: Erin Peterson