Apple Computer finally announced the much-hyped product that had been keenly awaited – its tablet computer, known as the iPad.
Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, announced the Apple iPad at an elaborately staged event on Jan 27 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Jobs announced that Apple wanted to "kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product,” and then proceeded to name some company milestones: it sold its 250 millionth iPod and had become a $50-billion-a-year company.
And then came the crowning moment of the presentation: the unveiling of the iPad.
Living up to the Hype
Based on initial reactions, the Apple iPad seems to live up to the unprecedented hype that accompanied it.
From the live demonstration, the iPad appears to be a large iPhone or iPod Touch. In fact, Apple's senior vice president Scott Forstall said that the iPad can run apps for the iPhone "virtually unmodified" though developers could take advantage of the high-resolution and large screen for their application.
On stage, Jobs demonstrated the ability of the iPad to browse websites, watch video and play music. Initial media reports during the launch describe the resolution and user interface of the screen as living up to hype.
The iPad, at half-an-inch thick, weighs 1.5 pounds and has a 9.7 inch IPS display with multi-touch support. The iPad runs on Apple's own 1 GHz A4 chip.
The device is reported to cost $499, $599, or $699 based on the size of storage in the model (16GB, 32GB and 64GB), and will support wireless networking and Bluetooth. Models with 3G support are on their way, and will cost $130 extra.
E-Reader Killer App?
In addition to providing a full-blown device that can browse the web, watch video and play music, Apple also appears to be poised to launch the iPad as the ultimate Amazon Kindle killer: by pitching it as a e-reader.
Steve Jobs, during the launch, demonstrated an application called iBooks. He demonstrated the iBooks store, which allows iPad users to purchase and read books on the device.
With the iBooks application, Apple is directly competing with Amazon Kindle in the mobile e-reader market.
At the end of the presentation, Mr. Jobs stated that “the bar is pretty high" to establish "a third category of products"—referring to the tablet PC, as opposed to a laptop or desktop. “It has to be far better at doing some key things. We think we have the goods.”