Apple iPad – a big success in a touchy-feely kind of way

Apple iPad - New York Times
I have been spending a good part of the day reading various reports and opinions on the new Apple iPad and although I won’t be buying into the iPad system immediately, I am beginning to understand why it is a very important step in the evolution of personal computer devices.

Apple has always been a forerunner in the area of touch and feel. Even the earliest Macintosh had a friendly looking design and a smiling icon when you turned on the machine, most of my early Mac user friends actually gave their Macs pet names (many times it was the name of their last real girlfriend, who they lost because they were spending too much time with their new love).

There was a period of time when Apple designs became a bit too gray and stuffy but ever since they came out with the candy colored and flower power iMacs, there has been no stopping their touch and feel superiority. Every Apple product brought out under the iSomething label has been a design masterpiece that the consumers want to possess as much for the touch and feel aspect of the product as the actual function that the device provides.

The iPhone and the iPod touch brought this understanding (of the importance of touch and feel to the consumer) to new heights. Apple not only provided a great touch and feel experience in the physical design aspect of the product, but also incorporated touch and feel into the devices user interface.

The iPad has taken this now proven and accepted touch interface to a new dimension by providing it to us in a larger format. The larger format (9.7 inches) will make it easier for Apple to distribute books, magazines, movies, television shows, games, and various other software applications though their iTunes store.

At first glance it will seem that the iPad is only an enlarged iPod touch (or iPhone with the 3G option), but in reality it is just the first really big step in changing the book publishing world from paper to digital distribution, video and television to internet based subscription services, games from physical stores to on-line sales, etc.

You might argue that any computer (from a netbook to a desktop) can do these things. This is of course true, but they can’t do it by touching the screen with your fingers. The number one reason the iPhone is so successful, is because the Apple touch screen interface works better than any touch screen interface that has come before.

The ultimate test (as far as I am concerned) is my 12 year old son. He is very computer savvy and has been using both Macintosh and Windows computers from a very early age. In his school they use Windows PCs and pretty much everyone has a Sony PlayStation at home, but the device that all his classmates are lusting after is the iPhone, mainly because of the touch (and tilt) interface of the games.

When I told my son about the iPad release, he immediately went to the Apple website and checked out the iPad video. All he kept saying is, “look at this, look at this, ….”. He was immediately hooked and I am pretty sure so will millions of other be.

Why I am not buying the first generation iPad.

1. I travel a lot and I have family and friends scattered all over the world. The best way so far that I have found of staying in touch with them is Google Gmail video chat. The iPad has no video or still camera, so it is of no use to me as an email device.

2. I am a pro photographer – minimum storage on any “computer” device I travel with has to be 160 GB. Plus I have to be able to connect a second external storage device. Apple may never provide this in an iPad so I will probably have to stick with carrying notebook (or netbook) computers.

3. I require multi-tasking (doesn’t everybody), I think Apple will get a lot of flak over this and will have to provide this capability in the next generation iPad.

4. I don’t really care for Adobe Flash all that much, but there is a lot of it on the internet. Apple needs to get over themselves on this one, time to either bury the hatchet or buy Adobe.

5. iWorks is not enough. I know we are all heading for the clouds but there are just too many things that cloud devices can not do yet.

What I expect to see soon.

1. Multi-Touch screen options on MacBook Pro and iMac computers (to be followed by the Multi-Touch Apple Monitor line).

2. An Apple netbook computer (the new iBook) based on the iPad.

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Apple Launches iPad

Magical & Revolutionary Device at an Unbelievable Price

SAN FRANCISCO—January 27, 2010—Apple® today introduced iPad, a revolutionary device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading e-books and much more. iPad’s responsive high-resolution Multi-Touch™ display lets users physically interact with applications and content. iPad is just 0.5 inches thick and weighs just 1.5 pounds— thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook. iPad includes 12 new innovative apps designed especially for the iPad, and will run almost all of the over 140,000 apps in the App Store. iPad will be available in late March starting at the breakthrough price of just $499.

“iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”

iPad features 12 next-generation Multi-Touch applications. Every app works in both portrait and landscape, automatically animating between views as the user rotates iPad in any direction. The precise Multi-Touch interface makes surfing the web on iPad an entirely new experience, dramatically more interactive and intimate than on a computer. Reading and sending email is fun and easy on iPad’s large screen and almost full-size “soft” keyboard. Import photos from a Mac®, PC or digital camera, see them organized as albums, and enjoy and share them using iPad’s elegant slideshows. Watch movies, TV shows and YouTube, all in HD or flip through pages of an e-book you downloaded from Apple’s new iBookstore while listening to your music collection.

iPad runs almost all of the over 140,000 apps on the App Store, including apps already purchased for your iPhone® or iPod touch®. The iTunes® Store gives you access to the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 11 million songs, over 50,000 TV episodes and over 8,000 films including over 2,000 in stunning high definition video. Apple also announced the new iBooks app for iPad, which includes Apple’s new iBookstore, the best way to browse, buy and read books on a mobile device. The iBookstore will feature books from major and independent publishers.

Apple also introduced a new version of iWork® for iPad, the first desktop-class productivity suite designed specifically for Multi-Touch. With Pages®, Keynote® and Numbers® you can create beautifully formatted documents, stunning presentations with animations and transitions, and spreadsheets with charts, functions and formulas. The three apps will be available separately through the App Store for $9.99 each.

iPad syncs with iTunes just like the iPhone and iPod touch, using the standard Apple 30-pin to USB cable, so you can sync all of your contacts, photos, music, movies, TV shows, applications and more from your Mac or PC. All the apps and content you download on iPad from the App Store, iTunes Store and iBookstore will be automatically synced to your iTunes library the next time you connect with your computer.

iPad’s brilliant 9.7-inch, LED-backlit display features IPS technology to deliver crisp, clear images and consistent color with an ultra-wide 178 degree viewing angle. The highly precise, capacitive Multi-Touch display is amazingly accurate and responsive whether scrolling web pages or playing games. The intelligent soft keyboard pioneered on iPhone takes advantage of iPad’s larger display to offer an almost full-size soft keyboard. iPad also connects to the new iPad Keyboard Dock with a full-size traditional keyboard.
iPad is powered by A4, Apple’s next-generation system-on-a-chip. Designed by Apple, the new A4 chip provides exceptional processor and graphics performance along with long battery life of up to 10 hours.* Apple’s advanced chemistry and Adaptive Charging technology deliver up to 1,000 charge cycles without a significant decrease in battery capacity over a typical five year lifespan.**

iPad comes in two versions—one with Wi-Fi and the other with both Wi-Fi and 3G. iPad includes the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi, and the 3G versions support speeds up to 7.2 Mbps on HSDPA networks. Apple and AT&T announced breakthrough 3G pre-paid data plans for iPad with easy, on-device activation and management.

Continuing Apple’s dedication to designing and creating environmentally responsible products, each iPad enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy-efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. iPad contains no brominated flame retardants and is completely PVC-free.

Apple today released a new Software Development Kit (SDK) for iPad, so developers can create amazing new applications designed to take advantage of iPad’s capabilities. The SDK includes a simulator that lets developers test and debug their iPad apps on a Mac, and also lets developers create Universal Applications that run on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Pricing & Availability
?iPad will be available in late March worldwide for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model. The Wi-Fi + 3G models of iPad will be available in April in the US and selected countries for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad will be sold in the US through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. International pricing and worldwide availability will be announced at a later date. iBookstore will be available in the US at launch.

*Apple tested wireless battery life by browsing web pages and receiving email over an AirPort® network, never letting the system go to sleep during the test, and keeping the display at half brightness. This is a typical scenario of use on the go, resulting in a battery performance number that is very relevant to mobile users.

**A properly maintained iPad battery is designed to retain 80 percent or more of its original capacity during a lifespan of up to 1,000 recharge cycles. Battery life and charge cycles vary by use and settings.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.

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