Apple unveils the iPad

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Apple finally releases the iPad, Apple’s take on a tablet computer.

Availability: Coming to market March 2010

Pricing: Starts at $499. Price increases based on storage capacity and 3G capability. AT&T offers $30 a month unlimited 3G internet access for the iPad.

Website: http://www.apple.com/ipad/

January 27th 2010 marked a big day in the world of technology. Apple with its usual fanfare unveiled the latest Apple product which has been rumored to be in the works for a few years.

The iPad can be described as a cross between the iPhone, Macbook Pro, and the Amazon Kindle.

The design of the iPad is stunning and sleek. The dimensions make it about the same size as a sheet of standard paper and about a half an inch thick. The screen is just under 10 inches in size. Basically if you cut the screen portion of the Macbook Pro off and made it a touch screen, you’d have the iPad.

The features make this a viable competitor to “netbooks” and could quite possibly be a huge threat to handheld e-book devices such as the Nook and the Kindle. With up to 10 hours of battery life this could become the ultimate portable “media device.”

What are some of the features?

Besides being a completely touch screen based device, the iPad also has built in Wi-Fi allowing you to connect to nearby wireless networks. In addition, select models will have 3G capability through a no-contract data plan from AT&T.

The iPad also features a dual layout screen meaning you can view the screen vertically or horizontally. There is also a full size on screen keyboard. Multi-Touch design means that the iPad’s controls mimic those found on the iPod Touch and iPhone.

The iPad plays movies, music, and games. A big question was whether or not existing iTunes Apps would function on the larger screen. Apple announced that most Apps will work with the iPad.

The iPad also functions as a fully functional web browser allowing you to view webpages in full screen mode. The iPad can also become an e-book reader allowing you to download e-books from the new iBook Store on iTunes.

An interesting announcement during the January 27th event revealed that the iPad would remain unlocked, allowing various types of e-book formats and files to be accessed and used on the device.

A custom designed version of the iWorks suite of software from Apple was also revealed for the iPad. This means documents, spreadsheets, and power point presentations can be viewed and even created on the iPad.

Apple also announced accessories to go along with the iPad ranging from a dock with a built in full size keyboard to a book style cover case for the iPad. The iPad is also compatible with Apple’s dock connectors meaning it is possible to connect “video and audio” out connections from the iPad to larger displays or entertainment centers.

The iPad is sure to be a game changer and appears to be a great alternative to those “netbooks.”

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