The frenzy over Apple’s iPad

Normal, Weekender

The iPad can almost be defined as the missing link, it’s not a smart phone, not a computer, but a combination of each writes MURRAY HILL

SAN FRANCISCO – When the doors to the long anticipated Apple Event in San Francisco opened there was a greater than ever frenzy to get into the auditorium and get a good seat. There has been more hype and conjecture over the anticipated Apple tablet launch than any product in recent memory.
By the time Steve Jobs walked onto the stage to talk to the assembled media the energy in the room was palpable.
The iPad, as Apple’s tablet will be called, can almost be defined as the missing link – it’s not a smart phone, not a computer, but a combination of each. “So much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone,” Mr Jobs said.
Only half an inch thick and weighing 1.5 pounds, the 9.7” touch screen looks very much like the iPhone’s big brother. The iPad will come in three memory sizes, with 16, 32 and 64 GB.
Available in the U.S. in 60 days, the first versions of the iPad to hit the street will be Wi-Fi, version 801.11n, with a Wi-Fi/3G version following 30 days after that.
Pricing in the United States will be $499 U.S. for the 16 GB version, $599 for the 32 GB and $699 for the 64 GB. The 3G iPad models will cost more – $629, $729 and $829, depending on the amount of memory.
The 3G version will run on the AT&T network in the US with deals in the works for other countries the iPhone is currently sold in.
International cellular data details have not yet been announced, although in the US monthly 250MB data plans will cost $14,99 and unlimited plans will cost $29.99.
An international carrier arrangement will be announced in the June or July timeframe, raising the possibility that the iPad could arrive in Canada this summer.
Mr Jobs said the new tablet had to be able to do several tasks much better than current devices do:
It had to do a better job of web browsing, e-mail, photos, video, music, games and e-Books, he said.
The iPad demonstrated the ability to far exceed the capabilities of any smart phones currently available and most computers.
It has the ability to do all these tasks on a single device, and that sets the iPad apart from everything else.
“It’s phenomenal to hold the Internet in the palm of your hand” said Mr Jobs.
The iPad brings “our most advanced technology in a magical and evolutional device at an unbelievable price,” he said.
Battery life has been a hot topic of discussion leading up to the event, and Mr Jobs quickly got that matter out of the way when he announced the iPod’s battery life to be 10 hours, with a month of standby time.
As an e-book reader, I’d say the iPad has officially laid down the gauntlet for all the other manufacturers to follow. The new iBookstore site, similar to the App Store and iTunes Store, will very quickly become popular, though a note on the iPad features page points out that so far iBooks are only available in the U.S.
Buying a book is very simple, and there is nothing anywhere like the iPad on the market for reading a newspaper. A newspaper is a newspaper – complete with all text, graphics, photos and beautiful vivid high-definition colour. The iPad will kill all other e-Book readers.
Gamers will love the iPad, it provides a console gaming type of atmosphere in a device that makes use of the onboard accelerometer to let users interact with the games as never before. Since all the games and apps currently available through the App Store will run on the iPad, new users will instantly be able to access their favourite games and apps on this new, larger, much more powerful platform.
With the release Wednesday of the Software Developer’s Toolkit for the iPad, Apple has ensured that the app developers will be able to take full advantage of the technology inside this device.
The iPad announcement was almost anti-climactic in terms of all the hype preceding the event. Everyone’s expectations were so high leading into the announcement, that it was almost impossible to build additional excitement.
One left the event knowing that the iPad will provide a shift in how we think and use the various devices we have. By producing a device that fits so seamlessly between smart phones and computers, and pricing it so that it’s really not much more expensive than a good smart phone, or e-Book reader, Apple’s iPad may well have as much of an impact as when they first introduced the iPod – and we all know what happened to all the other music players when that happened.


– Saskatoon Star