Following more than a year of increasingly intense speculation about Apple's tablet computing device, the computer manufacturer revealed its latest device on Wednesday, January 27th. The iPad, which is based heavily on the iPhone and its accompanying operating system, is a half-inch thick, flat tablet computer with a 9.7-inch backlit LCD screen, touch-controlled navigation and virtual keyboard, and integrated Wi-Fi and optional 3G access. It reportedly weighs approximately one and a half pounds.
The iPad includes numerous features already included in Apple's popular iPhone, such as web browsing, video, audio, and downloadable applications. Apple is also releasing a number of new programs in conjunction with the iPad, such as a mobile version of its iWork business suite and iBooks, an ePub-based ebook application that will tie into Apple's new iBookstore ebook storefront. Notably absent from the iPad are several predicted features such as multi-tasking, compatability with Adobe's Flash, and a camera. The iPad also lacks in-built phone functionality, although a recent update to the iPhone OS developer kit enabled applications to use Voice Over IP (VoIP) internet telephony over the 3G network.
The iPad is priced between $499 and $829, depending on options such as 3G functionality and memory. 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models have been announced, along with accessories such as a Bluetooth-based keyboard and portable stand. The basic model will reportedly be released some time in March, with the 3G-enabled model following in April.