The Basics

I’ll say that the iPad isn’t the sort of revolutionary device it was hyped to be. It’s impossible to meet the expectations that were thrust upon the device. Some of that is Apple’s own fault. By being so secretive, the world tends to assume that anything is possible - especially from a company that not too long ago revolutionized the smartphone market. While the iPhone was nicknamed the Jesus Phone, I’m not sure the same label fits the iPad. In part because it is a brand new device for a brand new market segment, not an improved version of an existing product.

In fact, Apple doesn’t have as good of a track record in this department. Far more often we see Apple perfecting a particular device rather than diving head first into a new market segment. That’s not to say it won’t be successful. There’s always the iPod to look back on.

The basics are as follows. The iPad runs the iPhone OS, in this case 3.2. Presumably when the iPhone OS gets updated, so will the iPad OS. The UI is obviously tailored to the larger screen, which measures 9.7” diagonally.


The iPad (WiFi) dimensions. Amazon's Kindle 2 measures in at 8" x 5.3" x 0.36"

The interface is strictly touch. You have four physical buttons: power/sleep switch, mute button, volume up/down and an iPhone-style home button. There’s no correct orientation, the OS uses an accelerometer to figure out how you’re holding it and orients the UI accordingly.

Apple says that nearly 100% of the applications for the iPhone in the App Store will run on the iPad. There are some new applications that Apple is shipping with the device. The entire iWork suite has been ported to the iPad giving you a way to create/view/edit Pages/Word documents, Numbers/Excel spreadsheets and Keynote/Powerpoint presentations.

There’s an email app, a browser, calendar, maps, iPod and all of the basic apps you’d expect. WiFi (802.11n) is supported on all devices while an extra $130 will get you an unlocked 3G version with a microSIM slot. AT&T is the carrier of choice with two dataplan options: $14.99 a month for 250MB of downloads, or unlimited for $29.99. WiFi access at AT&T hotspots is free and there’s no contract required, this is all month to month.

Storage is not expandable and comes in the way of flash. The entry level model comes with 16GB of presumably MLC NAND flash and you can get up to 64GB. The pricing structure is below:

Apple iPad 16GB 32GB 64GB
WiFi $499 $599 $699
3G $629 $729 $829

 

Availability for the non-3G models is 60 days and 90 days for the 3G enabled devices.


The 3G version of the iPad has a microSIM card slot

From Apple’s demonstrations and the video that’s now live on the site, it appears that the iPad is a great couch surfing device. It looks like a giant iPhone/iPod Touch and appears to be just as snappy. The same can be said for reading and responding to emails. If it works the way Apple portrays it, the iPad appears to be a great device for casually browsing the web, email and watching videos.

Apple is also trying to capitalize on the eBook market by giving the iPad access to Apple’s own eBook store. While I doubt it can pull Kindles away from die hard users, it may open the segment up to more users than Amazon could.

The real question is whether or not the device will function as a productivity device as well.

Index Will it Work...Literally
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  • - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    My gut is telling me that there are too many open questions about this iPad, I'm feeling like this is a rushed or incomplete presentation of a tablet. Are there problems relative to realistic expectations concerning Apple’s SOC/chip? Did ARM intervene in the final hour with their A9? And why those prices? The product isn’t due to ship for another month; do they have a rabbit up their sleeve? Stay tuned
    asH
    Reply
  • RobberBaron - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    MADtv: Apple iPad, 2006

    http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/47049/detail/">http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/47049/detail/
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    I can definately visualize how tablets can completely replace netbooks. But if you cant even play an avi video what the heck else wont you be able to do on this thing? Its a dead end. I've never accepted apple's limitations, and never will. Just like the iphone, the only people who will buy this are the dumb yuppies who like to waste money. Unfortunately for Apple, they are going extinct at a record rate.

    I am far more hopeful about windows 7 based tablets for when cpus get small and powerful enough to actually run one.

    But what I'm really looking for is a form factor that includes a scree that can flawlessly and seamlessly fold in half. Then I can have a phone and reasonable web surfing in one package.
    Reply
  • charles Monneron - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Handbrake is a free software that will enable you to encode all your video library in mp4 format (or m4v if you really like itunes). This is what the creator say about avi :
    "AVI is a rough beast. It is obsolete. It does not support modern container features like chapters, muxed-in subtitles, variable framerate video, or out of order frame display."
    Plus, translating into mp4 using the last versions of x264 is quite likely to shrink the size of your files.
    Reply
  • Tikvaw - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Hmm you can play avi Files on the Iphone with the right App, so you will be able to do the same on the Ipad.

    The disc might not be very large but at least at home you can stream almost any video file from your PC/NAS directly to the Iphone/Ipad with encoding on the go, for example with the "Air Video" App.
    If you go somewhere and wan't to take a few Video files with you,
    you can take a sd-card and the adapter Apple provides, I'm sure there will be an App that can read and copy those files from the card.

    With the Free App "TouchMouse" from Logitech you can control your Computer Mouse so you could connect your Computer with the TV and start a Video with the Ipad from your seat/sofa and use the Ipad as Remote.

    There are many free Apps that Read PDF,TXT, etc Files (which you can transfer from your Computer to the Iphone/Ipad with Wifi, no need to use Itunes) so you aren't restricted to IBooks, you can even install Kindle Store and buy their E-Books.

    etc etc

    So to summarize, even if Apple doesn't really provide open standards, the are many free App's which add this functionalities, probably the Ipad will be "jailbreakable" too, so you are even more free with the choices and not dependable on the AppStore.

    ps. I really hope Apple will provide Multitasking in the near future!

    Reply
  • taltamir - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    the iphone was never popular... early iterations were a failure, later fixed versions are selling better, but still have less than 1% of the phone market share.

    the iPad cannot be compared to a eReader, because it does not use ePaper. you touted that as a "bonus", as if it being "color" was great. the eReader has the benefit of being a passive display (no light emission) like a book, and unbeleiveable battery. the iPad is nothing like an eReader and if it is trying to be it will be a huge failure... and kindle isn't the only competition in that market.
    Reply
  • QueBert - Sunday, January 31, 2010 - link

    you're kidding right? From day 1 they were sold out everywhere and going for over $1,000 on Ebay. Hell, even today 1st fucking gen iPhones are selling for more money used than a lot of brand new smart phones. The iPhone is the phone to have, period! I never NEVER hear people talking about any other phone. When I could put my 2st gen iPhone on CL tomorrow for $200 and have it sold before Monday. I'm not too sure how you consider the phone "never popular" there has never been a phone more popular. Reply
  • A5 - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    1% of the overall phone market including dumbphones.

    In the relevant market (smartphones), the iPhone is doing very well - they've already passed the market share of all WinMo phones combined and they're coming up on RIM, who has been in the market a lot longer than Apple.
    Reply
  • gwolfman - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    I just saw this post with regards to the CPU:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Apple-A4-SOC-ARM-...">http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Apple-A4-SOC-ARM-...

    Steve Jobs incorrectly addressed Apple A4 as a CPU. We're not sure was this to keep the mainstream press enthused, but A4 is not a CPU. Or we should say, it's not just a CPU. Nor did PA Semi/Apple had anything to do with the creation of the CPU component. A4 is a System-on-a-Chip, or SOC, that integrates the main processor [ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore i.e. Multi-Processing Core, identical to ones used in nVidia Tegra and Qualcomm Snapdragon] with graphics silicon [ARM Mali 50-Series GPU], and other functions like the memory controller on one piece of silicon.
    Reply
  • vshin - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    I don't understand why anyone would want 1080p on a 9.7" screen. Reply

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