The much awaited January 27 event finally arrived and as much anticipated, Steve Jobs took the state to demonstrate Apple’s latest device - The iPad. It is a tablet computer which can be simply described as visually being a ‘large iPod Touch’. Apple iPad will be initially available for sale only in the USA, and is expected to be available in the rest of the world in the early summer.

The iPad will be available as a Wi-Fi and a 3G/WI-Fi model, with a 16GB, 32GB or 64GB Flash storage version for each. Apart from that, the device is powered by a new 1Ghz Apple A4 processor and is loaded with Wi-Fi 802.11n and v2.1 Bluetooth, plus the usual Apple software including iTunes and the App Store, Mail, Calendar and Safari.

The event also marked the launch of Apple iBookStore where you can buy eBooks for use with the iPad. Moreover, the current iPhone app developers will be creating new apps especially for the iPad, in order to take advantage of the new screen size.

Apple iPad: Features

- The Apple iPad weighs 1.5 pounds and measures 7.47 inches in width by 9.56 inches in length by 0.5 inch in thickness.

- The screen used in the iPad is a glass-covered, oleophobic, LED-backlit, 9.7-inch capacitive touch screen. It uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology for above-average viewing angles. The maximum screen resolution is 1,024x768 pixels.

- Video output is available using a dock adapter; however, HDMI is not supported, and output resolution is constrained to 480p. Below the screen you will find a home button that looks and functions exactly like the button found on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

- The iPad is wrapped around the backs and sides with Matte aluminum, tightening a bit around the edges. However, unlike the glossy plastic of the iPhone or the polished chrome of the iPod, the iPad is least expected to show fingerprints and wear.

- If you are an iPhone owner, you will find the buttons, switches, and ports around the edges of the iPad very familiar. Besides a 30-pin dock connector at the bottom, there is a small integrated speaker; a volume rocker button and mute switch sit on the right side; along with a screen lock, a headphone jack, and a pinhole microphone sit up top.

- The Apple iPad comes with a 1GHz A4 processor (Apple brand) under the hood. It comes along with 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 and a compass.

- Battery life is rated at 10 hours, and the iPad has three storage capacities available -16GB ($499), 32GB ($599), and 64GB ($699).

- Apple iPads with 3G wireless data support (microSIM) is due to be released in May with the same capacity range. However, it will cost $130 extra for each respective model (i.e., $629, $729, and $829). Again if you go the 3G route, you have to pay for an additional data plan (currently provided by AT&T with no contract), setting you back $14.99 a month for 250MB of data, or $29 for "unlimited" usage.

Apple iPad: Limitations

In the first instance, as you go through the data plans they seem to be pretty reasonable; however, they are attached to the iPad and cannot be shared with your phone or other Internet-capable devices.

Apart from that, despite its lovely design, beefier core apps, and new e-book features and store, the iPad is hampered by a well-documented string of missing features like a camera, 16:9 support, Flash support, multitasking, SD card slot, HDMI or high-resolution video output support, USB ports, GPS, to mention a few. Not to mentions its exclusivity to the AT&T network.

Apple iPad: Pricing

The pricing scheme is overly complex, and while I'm not sure it's genuinely overpriced, it's nevertheless expensive, and you can't imagine the price going much lower without crashing into the 64GB iPod Touch and making the iPad look a lot like a sucker's buy.

The Apple iPad can be concluded as a product ahead of its time. You cannot term it as a failure; at the same time, it is something in the like of a concept product - a proof of concept. If you have decided on buying yourself an Apple iPad, you have to own it along with its inevitable first-generation bugs, fulfillment problems, and buyer's remorse over added features and price drops – altogether a heartbreak waiting to ensue


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