Apple's iPad, the company's long-rumored tablet PC, finally made its rollout during an event in San Francisco on Jan. 27. While the device's impact and success will likely be debated for days and weeks, a breakdown of its hardware and software suggests that the iPad could provide strong functionality in a number of areas, including e-readers and games. Apple is also encouraging developers to start crafting programs for the iPad, which will be released sometime in the next two months, through the release of the iPhone SDK 3.2 beta.
Apple's tablet PC formally made the transition from
buzzed-about vaporware to an actual device, named the iPad, during a
high-profile event in San Francisco on Jan. 27. The same pundits who spent
months discussing possible features of the device are now busy debating the
scale of the iPad's impact on the market and whether it will succeed in the
long-term, but in the meantime it may be instructive to run down the hardware
and software aspects of the device.
Apple also came out of the gate strongly
to download the new iPhone SDK 3.2 beta and start
creating programs for the iPad, which will actually be released sometime within
the next two months. That SDK includes an iPad Programming Guide, iPad Human
Interface Guidelines, and iPad Sample Code. By doing so, Apple seems to be
betting that developers will help expand the iPad's functionality to the point
where it becomes a truly robust competitor in arenas as diverse as gaming,
music, video, e-readers and productivity.
The device presented by Apple CEO Steve Jobs includes the
Display/Form-Factor: The iPad includes a 9.7-inch LED backlit glossy multitouch display with IPS
technology, capable of delivering 1,024-by-768 resolution. External buttons are
On/Off, Sleep/Wake, Mute, Volume Up/Down and Home. Overall, the device measures
9.56 inches tall by 7.47 inches wide by 0.5 inches thick, and weighs either 1.5
pounds for the Wi-Fi model or 1.6 pounds for the Wi-Fi and 3G model.
- Wireless Options: The Wi-Fi model will feature a 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connection, along with
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology, while a Wi-Fi and 3G model will include
UMTS/HSDPA, GSM/EDGE, 802.11 ab/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
- Processor: A 1GHz
Apple A4 proprietary processor.
- Capacity/Pricing: Apple will offer units with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB flash drives. The 16GB
version will cost $499 with Wi-Fi, and $629 with Wi-Fi and 3G. The 32GB version
will cost $599 with Wi-Fi, and $729 with Wi-Fi and 3G. The 64GB version will cost
$699 with Wi-Fi, and $829 with Wi-Fi and 3G.
- Battery Power: Apple claims 10 hours of charge on the built-in 25 Whr rechargeable
- Mac System Requirements: Mac computer with USB 2.0 port, Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later, iTunes 9.0 or
later, iTunes Store account, and Internet access.
Requirements: PC with USB 2.0 support; Windows 7, Vista or XP Home or
Professional with Service Pack 3 or later. iTunes 9.0 or later, iTunes Store
account, and Internet access.
- Language Support: English, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Simplified
Chinese, and Russian.
- Location: Wi-Fi,
digital compass, Assisted GPS (Wi-Fi and 3G model), Cellular (Wi-Fi and 3G
- Apps Available: Apple claims some 140,000 Apps from the App Store will be capable of running
on the iPad at launch. Applications such as iWork have also been supposedly
redesigned in order to accommodate the device's form-factor and functionality.
- Mail Attachment
Support: Viewable document types: .jpg, .tiff, .gif, .doc, .docx, .htm,
.html, .key, .numbers, .pages, .pdf, .ppt, .pptx, .txt, .rtf, .vcf, .xls,
The iPad will also come with a variety of accessories at
iPad Keyboard Dock: A combination full-size keyboard/charger, allowing the iPad to be synced to
a computer, recharged via a USB Power Adapter, and linked with accessories such
as the Camera Connection Kit.
- iPad Case: This
carrying case doubles as a sort of stand, allowing the screen to be propped in
different positions for movie- and media-viewing.
iPad Dock: Used for
recharging the device, as well as syncing to a computer. Both the iPad Dock and
the iPad Keyboard Dock contain an audio jack for connecting to a stereo or
iPad Camera Connection
Kit: This accessory lets users import photos and videos onto the iPad using
a USB cable. An SD Card Reader also allows media to be directly ported onto the
iPad from the camera's SD card.
- iPad USB Power
Adapter: A 10W USB Power Adapter, with a six-foot power cable.