Apple iPad: more awesome than expected

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.

7 replies
  1. Retard
    Retard says:

    “This retard above me probably searched ‘Ipad is awesome’, like I did. There’s so many places to troll he picks here. “It’s full of fail”, lmfao, regurgitate everything everyone else said. Not one of your thoughts were actually original. This device has faults, but it’s an exceptional Ebook reader, the best one on the market.”


  2. Clive Green
    Clive Green says:

    It might be useful at this point to just scope out a little bit here and get some perspective on things.

    I don’t believe that it’s too contentious to assert that Apple have been (and continue to be) an extraordinarily innovative and influential technology company. For a firm that has such a tiny share of the consumer electronics and mobile computing market (in terms of units sold), it has had a disproportionate effect on other, far larger manufacturing and software companies. From the quality of its products’ industrial design and form factor innovations to its consistently excellent GUI experience, Apple has been punching well above its weight for many years now.

    Apple is one of the few companies who regularly help to define the direction of computing and consumer electronics, rather than being content to merely follow the ideas of others. It isn’t afraid to take risks. This is of particular significance here, because it’s precisely this kind of pioneering spirit which has been instrumental in driving technology forward. Without the Apples of this world, consumer tech would undoubtedly be a far less exciting and dynamic affair.

    In recent years, Apple has enjoyed considerable success with several of its products, despite mixed initial receptions to some of them. While the utility of those products was already well understood however, the iPad enjoys no such similar advantage. With their latest offering, Apple are (whether cannily or otherwise) attempting to invent a new *category* of device – and one which, it seems, has yet to be fully understood by many. Whether this device succeeds or not in its current incarnation, Apple’s bravery should at the very least be recognized and roundly applauded. For, whatever becomes of the iPad, Apple’s attempts at innovation unquestionably drive the rest of the industry to excel.

    My personal disappointment with regard to this new device is not that version 1.0 may fail to triumph from the outset, or that the pre-release models appear to lack many features that more established and familiar devices already possess. Rather, I am saddened by the myopic, knee-jerk reactions of the so-called technology pundits and bloggers who seem capable of viewing this new category of device only in terms of what they think they already know. I mean, just stop and consider for a moment: it’s going to be the application software that developers create for the iPad that will ultimately reveal this kind of device’s true potential. And with the exception of Apple itself and a few early pilot demos, we have yet to see ANYTHING running on it which truly leverages the device’s multi-touch capability.

    Despite Apple’s truly astonishing track record over the past few years, very few people seem to understand that this device’s successors (whether from Apple or another farsighted innovator) will almost certainly redefine the industry within the next five years. Almost no one seems to have anything to say about the matter.

    Well I’ll give you just a few possibilities off the top of my head, and leave it to others to decide whether these have any merit. I am quite certain that more capable and intelligent people than myself – and that would be a LOT of people – could do better. But here we go …

    Imagine, if you will, manipulating a three-dimensional molecular model in realtime, and then experimenting with structural changes and (say) chemical properties using just your fingers – collaborating with several of your similarly-equipped colleagues in remote locations as you do so;

    Imagine walking around a building construction site, and calling up blueprints on the fly – keyed to your current location; imagine scrubbing back and forth across a timeline of projected construction work, and comparing the model to your immediate surroundings at any point in time … simply by using the gestures of one hand;

    Imagine working with fire and rescue services to navigate a smoke-filled building using GPS and compass orientation to find your precise location and direction on the map you’re holding … and then zooming into small details as needed …

    imagine allowing a child to navigate a real library by using an interactive map which provides previews of the material within each library section whenever she draws near to that area – a library treasure hunt with multimedia rewards …

    Does the current iPad offer these things? And if someone decides to write the software for it?

    Above all else, I encourage you simply imagine. Then look again at this new class of device. And this time, look just a little bit more carefully.

  3. Retard
    Retard says:

    This retard above me probably searched ‘Ipad is awesome’, like I did. There’s so many places to troll he picks here. “It’s full of fail”, lmfao, regurgitate everything everyone else said. Not one of your thoughts were actually original. This device has faults, but it’s an exceptional Ebook reader, the best one on the market.

  4. truth
    truth says:

    r u joking? This device is a fail.

    If you’re advocating it’s merits as an e-reader, think again. One of the best features of an OLED screen is the incredible brightness. But, even at it’s lowest setting, reading a book on such a screen will eventually set FIRE to your retinas. This is exactly where (and why) the Kindle prevails. You say it’s not “realistic,” but I would argue that the virtual ink replicates the experience of reading print WAY better than this garbage. Amazon didn’t simply forget that color screens exist. Recall that Amazon became an internet behemoth selling nothing but books. They did ACTUAL consumer research instead of thinking to themselves “What would Steve Jobs do?” and came out with a product that fits the needs of the niche market of e-readers. If this iTampon gets big in the marketplace, i’ll guarantee you that it wont be for the e-reader side of it…

    But that leaves what…A picture frame?

    So the equation goes: iPad = iPhone – Convenient Size – Functionality in it’s class (any other tablet or netbook is MUCH more functional). Pretty sad there, Cupertino.

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