Today was 2010’s first iDay- the announcement of a new or updated Apple product, predictably following months, or in this case years of feverish speculation. Steve Jobs gave the gathered press the first glimpse of the super-tablet himself, proudly declaring the new iPad not just revolutionary, but magical. It is undeniably sleek, beautiful, and impressive to look at but is it necessary, especially for people already toting around iPhones or iPod Touches, along with a MacBook or a MacBook Air?
Here are the specs:
-9.7″ LED backlit, fully multi-touch display, with IPS technology (IPS provides wide viewing angles and good color reproduction, important for a tablet that you may use both laptop-style, and as a media player). There’s also a special fingerprint-resistant coating, obviously good for a screen with a touch interface.
-Up to 10 hour battery life for video, music, and wifi surfing.
-Half an inch thick, weighs 1.5 lbs, 9.5″ high, 7.5″ wide.
-Wifi, Bluetooth, and optional 3G through AT&T (yay, not). Assisted GPS on 3G models only.
-On-screen keyboard only- but wide enough, apparently for something approaching touch-typing. Jobs typed with all his fingers, not just thumbs during the demo. There’s also an optional hardware keyboard which also charges the iPad.
-The iPad will run all current iPhone/iPod Touch applications, plus have its own iPad-only apps.
-The iPad is an advanced e-book reader, using the iBooks app for reading and the iBookstore app for browsing and buying books. iBookstore has licensing deals with some of the biggest publishers so book selection should quickly get competitive with the Amazon Kindle’s, plus iBook supports the EPUB standard, which offers thousands of free books. The best part? The Amazon Kindle and BN Nook use low-powered e-ink displays which are easy on the eyes and give great battery life, but they are not backlit or in color. The iPad is both, and while battery life is sure to be less than the Kindle’s, 10 hours is still really, really good.
-iWork, Apple’s answer to MS Office will be available for the iPad. Pages, Numbers, and Keynote (Apple’s versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) will be .99 each, a great price for a full featured app.
What are the advantages of the iPad over the iPhone or iPod Touch? The screen, obviously is almost three times the size, a huge improvement for web surfing, watching videos and viewing photos, email, and working on documents. The on-screen keyboard, which will surely elicit much discussion, won’t please everybody, but will surely be more comfortable for typing longer docs and emails, and there is the optional hardware keyboard.