iPad: $499, 9.7-inch, custom Apple 1GHz chip, 3G option

Single binary, backwards compatible with iPhone

iPad: $499, 9.7-inch, custom Apple 1GHz chip, 3G option
Apple has finally unveiled its latest creation, the iPad, at its much anticipated event in San Francisco.

As expected, iPad is a tablet device that enables users to browse the web, check emails, play games and movies, as well as access both the App Store and iTunes.

Described by Steve Jobs as "much more intimate than a laptop, and so much more capable than a smartphone," iPad pricing will start at $499, the most expensive 3G 64 GB model coming in at $829.

iPad is just 0.5 inches thin, weighing 1.5 pounds, with a 9.7 inch IPS display, an accelerometer, compass, and full capacitance multi-touch controls.

Apple also revealed that the device is powered by its own custom chip – the 1GHz A4 - an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU combined with an ARM Mali 40 graphics chip.

It will have a 10 hour battery life and up to a month in standby mode.

Six models will be available in all, the base 16GB $499 unit topped up with 32GB ($599) and 64GB ($699) variants, the option of built in 3G functionality adding a further $130 to the tab.

The 3G-less models will be the first to launch in 60 days time (end of March), 3G units hitting retail a further 30 days later, in late April.

All models will ship with what Jobs proclaimed as "the latest in wireless", coming with 802.11n wi-fi and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.

Impressively, iPad can run all iPhone apps unmodified, out of the box. Giving the device complete access to the App Store's back catalogue at launch, Jobs added that iPad can "pixel double and run the apps full screen."

This will be supported in the new iPhone SDK, which is available now.

New apps are also a priority. Jobs stated that Apple has also enhanced the iPhone SDK to support development for the iPad as well.

Apple used the event to stress that iPad has been designed to fill an integral gap in the market, Jobs having opened by stating that it has to be "better at key tasks" - such as browsing the web, playing games or listening to music – than either a mobile or netbook in order to survive.

However, just like iPhone, iPad will ship without Flash support for its browser  – a key component in most web games. No built in camera was mentioned, either.

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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