SEE ALSO: Reaction to Apple’s iPad Unveiling
The long, much-hyped wait is over. After much speculation and countless rumors surrounding the possible release of an Apple “e-tablet” device that could have a large impact on the publishing industry, Apple co-founder/CEO Steve Jobs revealed Wednesday at an event in San Francisco what the company has named the iPad.
The iPad, which appears to fall in a category somewhere in-between an iPod Touch and a laptop, will allow consumers to browse the Web, read e-books, watch videos, listen to music, play games and view photos (but not take photos because there’s no camera). It also features a calendar, compass, accelerometer, Google Maps and access to the iTunes store where consumers can download music, movies, TV shows and podcasts.
Some initial specifications: The iPad is 0.5 inches thin and weighs 1.5 pounds with a 9.7-inch IPS display and a 10-hour battery life. It has a multi-touch screen with a virtual keyboard that can be viewed in both portrait and landscape modes and is available with 16, 32, or 64 GB of SSD storage. The device is also Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled and syncs via USB to a Mac or PC.
The device will sell for $499 for 16GB of memory, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB. A charge of $130 will be added to the retail price for 3G version. Apple has chosen AT&T as the device’s Wi-Fi provider: customers will be charged $15 for 250MB of data per month or $30 a month for an unlimited plan. Jobs said the Wi-Fi version will be available in 60 days, while the 3G version will be available in 90 days.
Jobs acknowledged the comparisons made between the device and Netbooks. “The problem is Netbooks aren’t better at anything,” he said. “They’re just cheap laptops. We think we have something better.”
The iPad’s e-reader app, which is called iBooks, has five major publishers so far—Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, MacMillan and Hachette—and their titles will be available on the bookstore starting this afternoon. The books can be read in portrait or landscape mode and consumers can tap or drag thier finger across the screen to turn the pages. “Amazon’s done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle,” Jobs said. We’re going to stand on their shoulders and go a bit further."
No announcements were made at the event regarding the availability of magazines on the iPad. However, the iPod version of The New York Times has been adapted for the new device. SVP Martin A. Nisenholtz demoed the app at the event and showed attendees how the paper on the iPad can be scrolled from left to right, the text can be resized and articles can be saved to a reading list.