After nearly a decade of rumors and speculation, Apple has finally unveiled their latest creation: the Apple iPad. Quick specs: 9.7" LED Backlit Multi-touch display, 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooh 2.1, UMTS, GSM, weighs from 0.68 kilos and comes in 16, 32 and 64GB capacity flash drive.
The iPad is basically like an iPod Touch except it's bigger. The Ipad runs on iPhone OS 3.2 and if you are already familiar with the iPhone, using the iPad shouldn't be a problem. Everything you can do on your iPod touch you can do as well on the iPad, Safari, Mail, iPod, Apps, games, you name it. All the apps and games made for the iPhone/iPod touch is compatible with the iPad. Unlike the iPhone though, you can't make or receive calls with the iPad and the lack of camera also means no video conferencing either. I'm guessing Apple will duly add a camera on the next iteration. Why put everything on the first product when you can do incremental update and make loads of money right?
Video games and movie watching experience will be a lot better obviously, with the larger screen. You can also download and read eBooks on the iPad with the iBook app, just like Amazon's Kindle except this one is in full glorious colour.
Still no multi-tasking with the iPad, you can only run one app at a time. Apple claims that the battery will last up to 10 hours so maybe that's the reason for lack of multi-tasking, to save power.
So how do you use the iPad? You simply hold it with one hand like reading a book, put it on your lap or use the standalone dock. You can also use a Bluetooth keyboard to type on the iPad other than the huge onscreen virtual keyboard. There's also a special version of iWork productivity suit for the iPad so that you can do all your word processing, spreadsheet and presentation right on the tablet, something which is clearly lacking with the iPhone.
The iPad sells for USD499 for the 16GB model, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB and the most expensive one, 64GB with 3G is going to be $829. There will be 2 types, one with WiFi only and the other WiFi with 3G which will cost an extra $130. The WiFi iPad will be in stores in the U.S in 60 days and the 3G model in 90 days. The rest of us will probably have to wait til June to get our hands on the tablet.
So what does this mean? The iPad is going to send shock-waves all over the netbook market. People love the iPhone for it's sleek design, super ease of use and user-friendly interface and the user experience with the iPad will be just as pleasurable. Previous tablet PC manufacturers and Microsoft make the mistake of cramming the complicated desktop environment on a tablet but Apple corrected it by putting the iPhone experience on the tablet. While I'm sure other companies can and will come out with a similar tablet like the iPad one thing they don't have is the iTunes and App Store with over 150,000 apps and 4 billion downloads so far. That's something nobody can imitate as yet.
When I first heard the name iPad mentioned by Steve Jobs at the unveiling ceremony this morning, my mind immediately raced back to this hilarious parody of the similar product by Mad TV (check out the YouTube link above). Yes people will still be making parodies and jokes about the iPad but since it's from Apple and it just oozes with class, this product will sell really-really well just like the iPhone. Apple has just re-invented tablet computing and the iPad will bring Apple computing to the masses.