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

    Just another revenue stream by zonkie, 17 hours agoWhat Apple is doing with the iPad is pretty smart.

    LOL

    asH
    Reply
  • zonkie - Friday, January 29, 2010 - link

    It's smart because they've created another item that makes you purchase things you wouldn't normally AND you have to do it from them. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    http://www.brightsideofnews.com/News.aspx?id=1117&...">http://www.brightsideofnews.com/News.aspx?id=1117&...

    It'd be great to find out more about the iPad's GPU. Bright Side of News is reporting that it might be an ARM Mali 50-Series which doesn't make much sense seeing that the Mali-55 is only an OpenGL ES 1.1 part. Given Apple's prior experience and financial backing, a PowerVR SGX chip is most likely, probably the often rumoured SGX 545.

    And I wonder how much RAM the iPad has. 512MB seems reasonable, although given the extra room and low RAM prices, 1GB is quite doable.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    I seriously doubt it is the ARM Mali. From what I've heard it's nearly 100% that the iPad uses a PowerVR SGX. Remember Apple owns nearly 10% of Imagination Technologies. To not use one of their cores seems hypocritical :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Mike1111 - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    512MB sounds right. Especially since there's no multitasking. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Personally, I think multitasking is still coming with iPhone OS 4.0. With the new accounting rules, hopefully major OS updates will be free for the iPad just like they are with the iPhone. Reply
  • synaesthetic - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - link

    I really thought this thing was 80% useless at first.

    I didn't expect it to have support for rendered soft subtitles, which already killed the device in my eyes as a media player.

    But no support for the MKV container format?

    No support for h.264 decoding above the median profile? And I'm guessing it won't support AVC encodes with more than 8 or so reference frames, either...

    I'm convinced now that the iPad is 100% useless. But of course Apple will sell a bajillion of them.
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, January 28, 2010 - link

    Matroska is only used by open source nuts and that's it. The rest of the world uses the official standard mp4 container.

    The only advantage of HP vs. MP is 8x8 transform and nothing else. It buys you very little in quality/file size. I've tested it myself.

    Limitations of # of reference frames should not exist; ie all devices should support the maximum 16 supported by MPEG4-AVC.

    Besides, where do people get those nice 1080p mkv files from, eh? At least unlike some other ppl I know in the smaller form factors (that's you Cowon), Apple supports H.264 from top to bottom.
    Reply
  • OCedHrt - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - link

    I'm very interested in some kind of linux variant OS for this kind of hardware running on the Sony X series. It's the same weight and thickness with a larger screen and faster(?) processor and also has a multi-touch display. Just that it is not in a tablet form. Reply
  • Candide08 - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - link

    The Apple tablet does not multi-task. This is a serious flaw.
    It also does not plat flash on the web another serious flaw.
    Add in a lack or removable media and I wonder about the usefulness of this device.

    The OS and multi-touch interface are the strong points for this and the iPhone, but need to be developed to really be revolutionary.
    Reply

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