Despite how much less like a sanitary napkin Apple Tablet sounds, a gaunt Steve Jobs announced that Apple’s long-rumored technology wonder-project is officially called the iPad. In an attempt to meet space-starved users’ needs between a laptop and a netbook, the iPad is a tablet computer with capabilities unlike any of its PC predecessors.
At a press event in San Francisco this morning, Jobs showed off the company’s latest mobile device — a 9.7-inch tablet computer with a full capacitive multi-touch display, 1-GHz speed and up to 64GB of memory. It weighs a mere 1.5 pounds and measures only 0.5 inches thick.
Like a larger, expanded iPhone, the iPad comes with the phone’s recognizable interface (including app compatability), built-in Bluetooth and a near-HD quality screen. The iPad’s most culturally significant selling point, however, is its e-reader capabilities.
Appropriately titled iBook, the iPad’s e-reader is set to revolutionize the way we read the printed word. Apple teamed up with some of the top publishers and have opened up a new nook of Apple’s online retailing where iPad owners can download their favorite bestsellers in full-color (off-white pages, here we come) and read them on realistic, textures pages that are easy to flip through (via the “next picture” swiping gesture for iPhone).
But the iPad’s greatest acheivement is one that just might save the faltering publications industry. A representative for the New York Times joined Jobs on stage this morning and demonstrated the machine’s ability to recreate the look and feel of a newspaper. In addition to this near-perfect mimicry, the virtual newsprint is embedded with links to other stories and playable-on-the-page videos—turning one of the most analog mediums of information dissemination into a refreshingly modern multimedia experience.
With the successes of non-realistic e-readers such as the Kindle, it will be interesting to see how the impressively capable iPad affects the publishing industry. And with a release date set for April (and a lower-than-projected starting cost of $499), we won’t have to wait long.