Apple unveils iPad tablet device - Mobile World Live

Apple unveils iPad tablet device

02 SEP 2010

Ending weeks of speculation, Apple last night unveiled its 9.7-inch touchscreen tablet computer called the ‘iPad.’ The device, which looks like a large iPhone, can be used to watch films, play games, browse the Web and is also set to take on Amazon’s Kindle in the e-reader market. Apple has done deals with publishers including Penguin, Macmillan and Harper Collins, as well as newspapers such as The New York Times, to allow e-books and content to be downloaded directly through a new iBook store. Demoing the iPad at the San Francisco launch event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs pitched the new product as a “third category” between smartphones and laptops, taking aim at the nascent netbook and smartbook sectors. Mr Jobs dismissed netbooks as “just cheap laptops,” adding that “netbooks aren’t better at anything – they’re slow and have low quality displays… They’re not a third category device, but we have something that we think is.”

The cheapest iPad model, which will come with 16GB of flash memory and Wi-Fi, will cost US$499. The most expensive version, with 64GB of storage and the ability to connect via 3G, will cost US$829. WiFi models will ship in the US in late March, with 3G models shipping in April. Surprisingly, Jobs touted a “breakthrough deal” with operator AT&T (its exclusive US iPhone partner that has suffered from data capacity issues recently), which will offer 250MB of data a month for US$14.99 or an unlimited plan for US$29.99 a month. The data plans are prepaid, so do not require a contract, and include free use of AT&T’s WiFi hotspots. “However, all of the iPad 3G models are unlocked, and they use the new GSM microSIMs,” added Jobs, noting that he hopes to have international prices in place in June or July. Other specs of note include a claimed battery life of 10 hours, a 1GHz Apple (A4) processor, thickness of just 1.25cm and weight of 1.5lbs (which Apple claims makes it “thinner and lighter than any laptop or notebook”). It comes with the firm’s iTunes software built in and owners can also download third party apps, both specially designed for the iPad and those already available for the iPhone. People with both can synchronise their apps between the two devices. Cellular voice connectivity and camera functionality are missing though. “What this device does is extraordinary,” insisted Jobs. “It is the best browsing experience you have ever had.”

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