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Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Like the older iPod Touch and iPhone devices, the larger iPad runs the iPhone OS and uses a multi-touch LCD for most user interactions. It runs iPad-specific applications as well as those written for the iPhone and iPod touch, including e-book readers.
The iPad uses WiFi or its 3G data connection to browse the Internet, load and stream media, and install software. However, at present, to sync the iPad with iTunes a physical cable connection to a PC is required.
History and availability
Apple's first tablet computer was the Newton MessagePad 100, introduced in 1993, which led to the creation of the ARM6 processor core with Acorn Computers. Apple also developed a prototype PowerBook Duo-based tablet, the PenLite, but did not sell it to avoid hurting MessagePad sales. Apple released several more Newton-based PDAs, and discontinued the last, the MessagePad 2100, in 1998.
Apple re-entered the mobile-computing market in 2007 with the iPhone. Smaller than the iPad but featuring a camera and mobile phone, it pioneered the multitouch interface of iPhone OS. By late 2009, the iPad's release had been rumored for several months. Mostly referred to as "Apple's tablet", iTablet and iSlate were among speculated names. The iPad was announced on January 27, 2010 by Steve Jobs at an Apple press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Three days later, at the 52nd Grammy Awards, Stephen Colbert used an iPad in announcing the nominees.
Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad from U.S. customers on March 12, 2010.The Wi-Fi version of the iPad went on sale in the United States on April 3, 2010, at 9:00 am local time, with hundreds of customers lined up outside stores nationwide. The Wi-Fi + 3G version was released on April 30. 3G service in the United States is provided by AT&T and sold with two prepaid contract-free data plan options: one for unlimited data and the other for 250 MB per month at half the price. The plans are activated on the iPad itself and can be canceled at any time.
The iPad will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK at the end of May 2010. Apple stated they will announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders for iPad on May 10.
Israel recently authorized importation of the iPad, after a brief prohibition related to possible Wi-Fi interference with other devices.
Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, introducing the iPad
Back of the iPad Wi-Fi
Screen and input
The touchscreen is a 25 cm (9.7 in) liquid crystal display (1024 × 768 pixels, 132 ppi, XGA) with fingerprint–resistant and scratch-resistant glass. Like the iPhone, the iPad is designed to be controlled by bare fingers, not gloves and styli that prevent electrical conductivity (although there are gloves and styli designed for this use).
The display responds to two other sensors: an ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness and a 3-axis accelerometer to sense iPad orientation and switch between portrait and landscape modes. Unlike the iPhone and iPod touch, which work in three orientations, the iPad supports screen rotation in all four orientations, meaning that the device has no intrinsic "up" or "down"; only the position of the home button changes. Most iPad applications support both portrait and landscape mode.
The iPad has a switch to lock out this screen rotation function (reportedly to prevent unintended rotation when the user is lying down). There are a total of four physical switches, including a home button below the display that returns the user to the main menu, and three plastic physical switches on the sides: wake/sleep and volume up/down, along with the screen rotation lock.
The iPad can use Wi-Fi network trilateration to provide location information to applications such as Google Maps. The 3G model contains A-GPS while both models have a digital compass.
The back of the Wi-Fi model iPad is made of contoured aluminum with black plastic buttons. The Wi-Fi + 3G model also has a black plastic accent on top of the device which helps with 3G radio sensitivity.
The iPad does not have any ports for wired connectivity.
Audio and output
Dual speakers housed inside the iPad provide mono sound via two small sealed channels in the interior speaker assembly that direct the sound outwards toward the three audio ports carved into the bottom-right of the unit. The microphone is within the device. A volume switch is on the right side of the unit, and a 3.5 mm TRS connector audio-out jack provides stereo sound for headphones on the top-left corner of the device. The iPad supports normal headphones and models with microphones, volume controls, or both. Microphones can be used for voice recording.
The built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR interface supports the HSP, A2DP, and HID profiles, which allow wireless headphones and keyboards to be used with the iPad. However, the iPhone OS does not currently support the OBEX file transfer protocol.
iPad video output over VGA is set to 1024 x 768 using a 720p scan rate.
Power and battery
The iPad uses an internal rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery. The iPad is designed to be charged with a high current (2 amperes) using the included USB 10 W power adapter. While it can be charged by a standard USB port from a computer, these typically provide lower current (500 milliamperes or 1 ampere). As a result, if the iPad is turned on while being charged with a normal USB computer port, it will charge much more slowly, if at all.
Apple claims that the iPad's battery can provide up to 10 hours of video, 140 hours of audio playback, or one month on standby. The battery loses capacity over time and is not designed to be user-replaceable. As in the battery-replacement program for iPod and the original iPhone, Apple will replace an iPad that does not hold an electrical charge with a refurbished iPad for a fee of US$99.
Storage and SIM
The iPad was released with three options for internal storage size: a 16, 32, or 64 GB flash drive. All data are stored on the flash drive and there is no option to expand storage. Apple sells a camera connection kit with an SD card reader, but it can only be used to transfer photos and videos.
The Wi-Fi + 3G model has a micro-SIM slot (not mini-SIM) located on the side of the device. The 3G model may be used with an AT&T data plan that does not require a contract. Apple has heavily advertised the uses of the no-contract plan on their website. Unlike the iPhone, which is usually sold locked to specific carriers, the 3G iPad is sold unlocked and can be used with any compatible GSM carrier.
iPad in the iPad Keyboard Dock
Apple offers several iPad accessories, including:
iPad Keyboard Dock with hardware keyboard, 30-pin connector, and audio jack
iPad Case which can be used to stand the iPad in various positions
iPad Dock with 30-pin connector and audio jack
iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter for external monitor or projector
iPad Camera Connection Kit including a USB Type A connector adapter and an SD card reader, for transferring photos and videos
iPad 10W USB Power Adapter with 2 A output (10 W)
Model Wi-Fi Wi-Fi + 3G
Announcement date January 27, 2010
Release date April 3, 2010 April 30, 2010
Display 1024 × 768 px (aspect ratio 4:3), 9.7 in diagonal, appr. 45 in2 (290 cm2), appr. 7.8 × 5.8 in (20 × 15 cm), 132 PPI, XGA, scratch-resistant glossy glass covered IPS LCD multi-touch display, with LED backlighting and fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
Processor 1 GHz Apple A4 PoP SoC
Storage 16, 32, or 64 GB
Wireless Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
No wireless wide-area network interface 3G cellular HSDPA, 2G cellular EDGE
Geolocation Skyhook Wireless Assisted GPS, Skyhook Wireless, cellular network
Environmental sensors Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, magnetometer (for digital compass)
Operating system iPhone OS 3.2
Battery Built-in lithium-ion polymer battery; 25 W·h (90 kJ)
(10 hours video, 140 hours audio, 1 month standby)
Weight 680 g (1.5 lb) 730 g (1.6 lb)
Dimensions 242.8 × 189.7 × 13.4 mm (9.56 × 7.47 × 0.53 in)
Mechanical keys Home, sleep, screen rotation lock, volume
Like the iPhone, with which it shares a development environment (iPhone SDK, or software development kit, version 3.2 onwards), the iPad only runs its own software, software downloaded from Apple's App Store, and software written by developers who have paid for a developer's license on registered devices.The iPad runs almost all third-party iPhone applications, displaying them at iPhone size or enlarging them to fill the iPad's screen.Developers may also create or modify apps to take advantage of the iPad's features..Application developers use iPhone SDK for developing applications for iPad.Around 1,000 new iPad apps were expected to be available at launch.
The iPad comes with these applications: Safari, Mail, Photos, Video, YouTube, iPod, iTunes Store, App Store, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, and Spotlight.The iPad syncs with iTunes on a Mac or Windows PC.Apple ported its iWork suite from the Mac to the iPad, and sells the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps in the App Store.Though these applications aren't as complete as their desktop counterparts and only have fair basic functionality. Although the iPad is not designed to replace a cellphone, a user can pair it with a Bluetooth headset and place phone calls over Wi-Fi or 3G using a VoIP application.
Book and magazine content
Reading a book on the iPad
See also: iBookstore
The iPad has an optional iBooks application that can be downloaded from the App Store, which displays books and other ePub-format content downloaded from the iBookstore. For the iPad launch on April 3, 2010, the iBookstore is available only in the United States. Several major book publishers including Penguin Books, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan have committed to publishing books for the iPad.
In February 2010, Condé Nast Publications said they would sell iPad subscriptions for their GQ, Vanity Fair and Wired magazines by June.In April 2010, The New York Times announced it will begin publishing daily on the iPad.
Reaction to the announcement
Media reaction to the iPad announcement was mixed. Walt Mossberg wrote, "It's about the software, stupid", meaning hardware features and build are less important to the iPad's success than software and user interface, his first impressions of which were largely positive. Mossberg also called the price "modest" for a device of its capabilities, and praised the ten-hour battery life. Others, including PC Advisor and The Sydney Morning Herald, wrote that the iPad would also compete with proliferating netbooks, most of which use Microsoft Windows. The base model's $499 price was lower than pre-release estimates by the tech press, Wall Street analysts, and Apple's competitors, all of whom were expecting a much higher entry price point.
Yair Reiner said the iPad will compete against e-book devices such as the Barnes & Noble nook and the Amazon Kindle while offering 70 percent of revenue to publishers, the same arrangement afforded developers on the Apple App Store. Notably, a week before the iPad's expected release, the Amazon Kindle store increased publishers' revenue share to 70 percent as well.
Several days after the unveiling, Stephen Fry said people must use the iPad to truly appreciate its purpose and quality and commented that common criticisms of the device fall away after use. Fry noted the iPad's speed and responsiveness, the intuitive interface and the richness and detail of the display.
CNET and Gizmodo have listed features that are missing from the iPad that they believe customers expect, including a camera for video chat, Adobe Flash support, a longer and narrower "widescreen" aspect ratio, the ability to multitask (run more than one application at once), and a more flexible wired-data port than the iPod dock connector. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Gizmodo noted that the iPad will only officially support installing software from the App Store. CNET also criticised the iPad for its apparent lack of wireless sync which other portable devices such as Microsoft's Zune have had for a number of years. The built-in iTunes app should be able to download from the Internet as well.
While CNN and Wired News criticized the lack of a webcam, they defended other omissions, including lack of support for Adobe Flash: "Who needs Flash, anyway? YouTube and Vimeo have both switched to H.264 for video streaming, and the rest of the world of Flash is painful to use."(30–40 percent of websites still contain some flash content.) CNN and Wired News also noted that "[multitasking] will not matter at all to the target user", as its absence is responsible for "a large part of [the iPad's] ten-hour battery life." In any event, while not present at launch, multitasking is included in the forthcoming iPad software update. Of the aspect ratio: "16:9 ratio in [portrait mode] would look oddly tall and skinny ... [4:3 is] a compromise, and a good one." Of the lack of a USB port: "The iPad is meant to be an easy-to-use appliance, not an all-purpose computer. A USB port would mean installing drivers for printers, scanners and anything else you might hook up."
Tech reporter Leo Laporte offered a mixed initial review, praising the iPad's speed but panning the lack of a camera, video output, USB-A and FireWire ports, and the inability to run multiple applications at the same time, specifically the inability to run a chat application along with other applications. He also mentioned the device's "locked down", closed nature, noting that some at the announcement protested Apple's "full control" of the software. He concluded that the iPad should be viewed as an "appliance" for media consumers, not really a computer in the traditional sense.
Like the iPhone, the iPad shares its name with existing products. The most publicized is the Fujitsu iPAD, a mobile multi-functional device sold to retailers to help clerks verify prices, check inventory, and close sales. The Japanese company Fujitsu introduced the iPAD in 2002, and the following year applied for the trademark, but the firm found the mark was already owned by Mag-Tek. Fujitsu's trademark application was listed as "abandoned" in April 2009, and the ownership of the mark is unclear. Fujitsu consulted attorneys over what, if any, action it might take. On March 17, 2010 the Fujitsu iPAD U.S. trademark was transferred to Apple.
In the first days after the iPad's announcement, some media and many online commenters criticized the name "iPad", noting its similarity to "pad", the common name for a sanitary napkin. Shortly after the launch announcement, the hashtag "iTampon" became the number-two trending topic on the social networking site Twitter.
For more details on on the digital rights controversy, see iPhone OS.
Digital rights advocates, including the Free Software Foundation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and computer engineer and activist Brewster Kahle, have criticized the iPad for its digital rights restrictions, which forbids users from installing software unless it has been approved by Apple. At issue are restrictions imposed by the iPad's design, namely DRM intended to lock purchased media to Apple's platform, the development model requiring a non-disclosure agreement and paid subscription to develop for the iPad, and the centralized approval process for apps as well as Apple's general control and lockdown of the platform itself, and that such centralized control could stifle software innovation. Of particular concern is the ability for Apple (or any other authority that can persuade Apple) to remotely disable or delete apps, media, or data on the iPad at will.
Paul Sweeting, an analyst with GigaOM, is quoted by National Public Radio saying, "With the iPad, you have the anti-Internet in your hands. [...] It offers them the opportunity to essentially re-create the old business model, wherein they are pushing content to you on their terms rather than you going out and finding content, or a search engine discovering content for you." But Sweeting also thinks Apple's limitations make its products feel like living in a safe neighborhood, saying, "Apple is offering you a gated community where there's a guard at the gate, and there's probably maid service, too." Laura Sydell, the article's author, closes by saying, "As more consumers have fears about security on the Internet, viruses and malware, they may be happy to opt for Apple's gated community."
In contrast to the initial mixed reaction to Apple's announcement of the iPad, the critical reception by reviewers who have been able to spend an extended period of time with the device has been generally positive. Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal called it a "pretty close" laptop killer.In his review of the device, David Pogue of The New York Times wrote a "dual" review, one part for technology-minded people, and the other part for non-technology-minded people. In the former section, he notes that a laptop offers more features for a cheaper price than the iPad. In his review for the latter audience, however, he claims that if his readers like the concept of the device and can understand what its intended uses are, then they will enjoy using the device.Ed Baig of USA Today bluntly states that the iPad "is a winner".Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun-Times calls the iPad "one of the best computers ever". PC Magazine also praised the iPad; Tim Gideon's review said, "you have yourself a winner" that "will undoubtedly be a driving force in shaping the emerging tablet landscape." Michael Arrington of TechCrunch said, "the iPad beats even my most optimistic expectations. This is a new category of device. But it also will replace laptops for many people."
In contrast PC World criticised the iPad for its poor functionality for sharing files and printing.
The iPad is currently being assembled by Foxconn, the same company that manufactures Apple's iPod, iPhone and Mac Mini in its largest plant in Shenzhen, China.
iSuppli estimated that the iPad 16 GB Wi-Fi version cost Apple 259.60 United States dollars to manufacture. Apple does not disclose the source of iPad components, but tear-down reports and analysis from industry insiders indicate that various parts and their suppliers include:
Apple A4 SoC: Samsung
NAND flash RAM chips: Toshiba for all models except the 64 GB iPad, whose memory was made by Samsung
Touch-screen chips: Broadcom
Touch panels: Wintek, after TPK Touch Solutions was unable to fulfill its orders, delaying the iPad's release from late March to early April.
Case: Catcher Technologies
LCD drivers: Novatek Microelectronics
Batteries: Dynapack International