Apple has also created a version of its iWork desktop productivity suite for the iPad -- that could make the iPad a competitor to both Windows netbooks and Apple's own MacBooks as an entertainment device that also doubles as a lightweight productivity device. Each app -- Pages, Numbers, and Keynote -- will cost $10 each and be compatible with the Mac OS X versions. The iPad versions of iWork can open both Microsoft Office and iWork files, but save only to the iWork and PDF formats. So sharing with Office users won't be as easy as it is on the desktop version of iWork. Also, the photo management app on the iPad takes advantage of the larger screen to let you create and slideshows on the iPad, something that would be helpful in product presentations.
As for the specs, the iPad is a half-inch thin, weighs 1.5 pounds, has an accelerometer and compass, has a 9.7-inch multitouch display, includes both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth local wireless networking, and runs on an Apple-proprietary CPU called the A4. Apple claims 10-hour battery life. The iPad can dock into keyboard and external screen.
Apple will sell six models: one set with 3G radios built in, and one set without. Each set will offer flash memory capacities of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Prices range from $499 to $829; the 3G versions will cost $130 more than the non-3G versions. Data access plans for 3G networks will be available starting at $15 per month for 250MB of data usage, and $30 per month for unlimited data usage, on AT&T's network (not on Verizon Wireless's as rumored). The plan includes Wi-Fi access at any AT&T hot spot.
In a first for an Apple iPhone OS device, the iPad's SIM card is removable, opening up the possibility that you can use it on the GSM-compatible carrier of your choice. But the three supported spectrum bands for the 3G models (850MHz, 1900MHz, and 2100MHz) don't include the spectrum band used by T-Mobile in the U.S. (1700MHz). However, they cover the common 3G bands used in Europe.
The iPad should be available by April for the non-3G models and by May for the 3G ones, Apple says.
- New iPad means iPhone developers need to think different
- Video: The Apple iPad in action
- Act now to avoid the Apple tablet apocalypse
- Why Apple's rumored iTablet will fail big time
- Apple's tablet: The only thing that matters
- Down-to-earth expectations for Apple's tablet
- Could Apple's rumored iSlate tablet be another game-changer?
- Apple's tablet: Now saving newspapers near you