Today Apple announced the iPad, a new tablet device aimed to fill the gap between a mobile phone and notebook. The iPad offers a similar interface to the iPod and iPhone, but blown up to take advantage of the increased size and screen resolution. Priced at $499, is this the netbook replacement we have all been waiting for? We’re going out on a limb and saying, YES.
Apple iPad Specifications:
- 1GHz Apple A4 Processor
- 9.7-inch Capacitive Multi-Touch IPS Display (1024×768 resolution)
- 16GB, 32GB, 64GB Storage Configurations
- 10 hours of battery life, one month of standby
- 802.11n Wireless, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR, 3G WWAN ($15 for 250MB, $30 for unlimited)
- Compass and Accelerometer
- 0.5” Thick
- $499 Starting Price (3G models will cost $130 extra)
- Weight: 1.5lbs
iPod and iPhone software support comes straight of the box with the iPad working natively with all applications. Software designed to run on the smaller screens will be displayed in 1x mode or scaled up to fill the entire screen. Apple also released a new SDK for developers so we should see most applications supporting the full resolution of the iPad very soon. The iPad also offers redesigned versions of the primary applications, including a cooler looking iTunes store, Calendar, better email support, and a much larger finger-friendly keyboard.
A new application being introduced today to compete in the Kindle space is iBooks. Offering a storefront to purchase some of the latest books, we see Apple isn’t holding anything back and plans on going full into the eReader space with the new iPad. iBooks will offer a clean reading interface with multiple fonts and font sizes to pick from. A productivity suite is also being introduced offering Keynote, Pages, and Numbers (or PowerPoint, Word, and Excel in Microsoft Office terminology). Each iWork application will be offered for $9.99 … not included with the purchase of the iPad.
The biggest surprise with the new Apple iPad which very well may be a game changer is the inclusion of 3G support and pricing structure. Normally most notebooks with WWAN built-in require service contracts with plans starting around $60 per month. The Apple iPad will offer two contract-free data plans … 250MB per month for $14.99 and unlimited data for $30. That right there is what will change the entire pricing structure that most cell companies go with when they deal with notebooks. If Apple can offer these plans at this cost with ATT, more companies will be pushing for lower rates—without contract—for their products.
|Apple iPad Pricing|
|Wi-Fi + 3G||$629||$729||$829|
Overall I can’t wait to see the Apple iPad in person. This device will probably cannibalize current sales of the iPod Touch and MacBook Air with its low starting price and it will easily influence other data providers to start lowering their pricing schemes for wireless broadband. As Jerry mentioned in our Apple iSlate editorial yesterday, many of the things we mentioned it would offer came true. It is based off a mobile operating system, uses non-traditional netbook hardware, and priced well below $999. Apple says that consumers can expect to buy the iPads with Wi-Fi only as soon as March. iPads with Wi-Fi and built-in 3G will be coming a month later. Stay tuned for more information on the Apple iPad and our review that will be coming as soon as it is released in stores.
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