It's a Tablet Running a Touch OS

At the heart, er surface, the iPad is a tablet computer. This has been tried before and usually met with very little success. The problems were three fold: hardware, form factor and UI.

What sets the iPad apart from those that came before it is that it finally has the right combination of all three. The hardware is powerful enough to run the OS quickly while maintaining good battery life, the form factor is thin and light enough to be portable and the UI is tailored to the device.

The latter is especially important. Where Microsoft has failed in the past with both its approach to smartphones and tablets is in its attempt to scale down a desktop OS. As we've seen countless times, the only way to design for a different segment is to start from the ground up. Microsoft itself learned this with the Media Center Edition UI on top of Windows.

Since this isn't the 1980s, the iPad only has four physical buttons on the device. At the top you have a power/lock button, on the right you have a rotation lock switch (keeps the desktop from rotating) and volume rocker, and then at the lower part of the face of the unit there's a home button. If this seems familiar it's because this is the exact hardware layout of the iPhone, just on a larger scale.

The vast majority of your interface to the iPad takes place via it's 9.7" capacitive touchscreen display.

Along the bottom edge of the iPad you'll find Apple's standard 30-pin dock connector. You can use existing iPod Touch/iPhone USB cables, however this is a much more power hungry device and thus you can't charge off of a standard USB port (more on this later).

For your charging needs Apple supplies a single 10W power adapter, which looks a lot like the power adapters for the first iPhones.

Will it Part the Seas? Pricing: Heard Ya Got Robbed
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  • dagamer34 - Friday, April 9, 2010 - link

    Anyone who looks at the raw costs of materials and bases decisions of a product being "overpriced" has never taken Business 101.

    I'll limit myself to 4 things which that "50-60%" pays for:
    1) Running Apple stores and employees
    2) Running Apple itself in Cupertino (and worldwide) - employees, board, executives, etc.
    3) Apple product support for the first year (phone support, in-person support, etc.)
    4) Warranties (i.e. - your iPad breaks in the first year and you complain they should fix it on their dime)

    NEVER assume a company gets a "huge" profit when only looking at BOM. That's just idiotic. And it's almost impossible to know how much the points I listed above factor into a product's cost in any great detail without making huge assumptions or pure guesswork.
    Reply
  • manicfreak - Friday, April 9, 2010 - link

    Doesn't change the fact the profit gained from the iPad is higher than the iPod from the last few years.

    Overpriced.
    Reply
  • GTaudiophile - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    That is indeed one of the best episodes of TOP GEAR ever.

    And then at the end, they all drive home to Sigur Ros playing in the background.
    Reply
  • semo - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    "There's also an optional VGA output, but I won't point out what issues I have with that."

    Why?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    I was poking fun at it, I thought it was obvious what my issues with a VGA dongle would be. Especially given that Apple's own products haven't supported VGA in years, and the input is definitely not common on modern HDTVs.

    It looks like the iPad is missing a TMDS as we don't get any options for digital out (HDMI, DVI, DP). I'll clarify in the article :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • PhilipHa - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    You may be interested in

    http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2010/4/7/the-...

    contains some interesting performance comparisons between x86 and ARM (but not IPAD)
    Reply
  • pervisanathema - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    You would be much wiser to wait for the inevitable widescreen version with a camera and faster CPU. I guarantee Apple has one in the works and they are simply waiting to screw the early adopters. The 4:3 aspect ratio was obviously picked solely so they would have a compelling reason to force people to buy the next revision. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Friday, April 9, 2010 - link

    OR 4:3 works better with books and it's the same ratio as the iPhone? Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, April 8, 2010 - link

    You pick a heck of a time to start complaining about apple's app pricing. Of course they are going to charge an arm and a leg for apps. That's what apple does. That's ALL apple does. This device, all told, requires an over $1500 investment for 2 years.

    iPad $500
    Bag $30
    10 Apps $120
    2 years of service $720
    Other accessories $50
    Taxes ~$100

    Total >$1500

    It is a ripoff of epic proportions. It's no faster than a penium III notebook I can buy on ebay for $68. This is outrageous. Are you out of your flippin mind? The real economy is in the middle of a depression. Real private GDP is down close to 20%. By and large, the only people who are going to be able to afford this overpriced garbage are people sucking off the government teat. (Like union trash collectors and station agents who make 6 figure salaries.) Nobody who actually works for a living in the private sector is going to spend $1500 on something like this, not if they wish to remain solvent anyway.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, April 9, 2010 - link

    Umm, your numbers are slightly off. There is no service fee for the WiFi-only $500 iPad. The 3G version starts at $630.

    Besides that though, I know plenty of people who have the disposable income to buy a toy like this of they wished. Sure it is overpriced, but just as there are consumers who pay $500 and up for video cards ther are some who pay $600-700 for expensive toys like this. It is arguably a better use of money than that $800 netbook Sony came out with last year.
    Reply

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