The Apple iPad. What is it? What can it do? How does it work? How do I get one? These are just some of the questions we have received from our readers after Apple announced their next major hardware release. It was hard to miss last week's announcement and we will no doubt be inundated by the marketing machine that brought the iPod & iPhone into what seems like every household in America. To help dispel some of the rumorsand explain the facts about the newest device, here's everything you need to know about the Apple iPad.
WHAT IS IT?
Quite simply it works like a hybrid between an iPhone and a full laptop. Using the touch screen, you can browse the internet, use apps, listen to music, watch movies and play games. It won't be able to make calls, but given the size, that's probably for the best. Featuring the same software found on the iPhone, the iPad is basically an over-sized iPod touch, and can run applications available on the iTunes store.
WHAT CAN IT DO?
Practically anything you can do with an iPod touch, you can do with the iPad. And yes, you can type through a touchscreen QWERTY keyboard. The pre-installed apps, such as the calendar, maps, and the media players have been redesigned to take advantage of the bigger screen. Unlike the iPod touch however, WiFi+3G iPads will be able to go online through AT&T's network, allowing internet access even when away from a hotspot. During the announcement, Apple also showed off electronic book
buying and reading software, placing the iPad in direct competition with eReaders like Amazon's Kindle.
HOW BIG IS IT?
Height - 9.56 inches
Width - 7.47 inches
Depth - 0.5 inch
Weight - 1.6 pounds
Screen Size - 9.7 inches diagonal (1024x768 resolution)
HOW LONG IS THE BATTERY LIFE?
According to Apple, 10 hours of active use on a single charge, or 30 days in standby mode.
WHEN WILL IT BE AVAILABLE AND HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
Six different models were announced. Three WiFi capable models are set for release at the end of March 2010, while three WiFi + 3G models will debut at the end of April. Both types will come in 16GB ($499 for the
WiFi model, $629 for its WiFi + 3G counterpart), 32GB ($599/$729), and 64GB ($699/$829) variants. 3G access will be provided by AT&T, through two prepaid plans of $14.99 for 250MB and $29.99 for unlimited.
HOW WILL 3G CONNECTIVITY WORK?
Certain models of the iPad will have 3G built in, allowing you to access the web without WiFi. To access 3G, though, you'll have to pay a monthly service fee of $14.99 for up to 250MB of data or $29.99 for unlimited data. The iPad is unlocked, so different carriers will be viable.
WHAT APPLICATIONS WILL RUN ON IT?
Every application currently available on the App Store will work on the iPad. Those apps designed for use on the iPhone will only take up a small portion of the screen, or they can be blown up to full size with some visual degradation. There will also be iPad-exclusive apps which are designed to take advantage of the larger screen and will will just as crisp as they would on a normal computer.
WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF THE DEVICE?
The iPad follows the iPhone's application model, preventing it from running multiple applications at the same time. For example, you will not be able to listen to Pandora while browsing the web or writing a document. Let's be honest though, the chances of you using this device to create documents are slim to none.
Does Not Support Flash
The iPad boasts having the best Web browsing experience of any device. Yet it does not support Flash which powers video, interactive charts, games, and more on many Web sites. Why would Apple not support Flash? Turns out, Flash is the single leading source of application crashes on Mac OS X. It's a component
Apple can't fix because they don't own it. It belongs to Adobe. "Apple controls the entire source code to the iPhone OS. If there's a bug, they can fix it. If something is slow, they can optimize or re-write it."
Not the case with Flash.
No USB Ports
The iPad only supports USB connections through a connection kit. Why not simply allow any device to plug into the iPad through several ports? Anyone who has had to manage disc drivers, device software installs, and upgrades for peripherals knows the pain they can cause. To add insult to injury, they make your computing life look like a rat's nest of wires. If you want to plug anything into this, such as a digital camera, you need an adapter.
There is no on board camera on the device. This news is shocking, considering even the iPod Nano comes with a built in camcorder.
No HDMI Port
Lacking an HDMI Output, this devices prevents you from watching those nice HD videos you downloaded from iTunes on your TV.
Doesn't Support T-Mobile 3G
Sure, it's "unlocked." But it won't work on T-Mobile, and it uses microSIMs that not many carriers use.
For more information on Apple's iPad, here is the official Apple iPad site as well as two in-depth articles further explaining the features of benefits of the newest device, full of pictures and videos.
Official Apple iPad Site
iPad Questions Answered
Pictures & Video