iPad, a name formed from a hybrid between the iPod and a pad of paper, was revealed to the world at a two hour Apple event finishing less than an hour ago. The new touch screen computer is a kind of giant iPod running a custom version of iPhone OS, 3.2, the SDK for which is available now to ADC members.
Featuring a 9.7” multitouch display for use with all 10 fingers at once, the iPad looks very similar to an iPhone zoomed up to around 300% scale. The same home button adorns the right (or bottom) of the display depending on if you’re using it in horizontal or vertical orientation, and it’s about half an inch thick, dimensions achieved thanks to Apple’s new custom hardware architecture.
In addition to the usual Apple touch screen apps (Music, Photos, Maps, Calendars), all of which have been customized with fairly stunning interfaces in Apple’s reincarnation of the tablet, iWork has been ported to the touch screen ($10 per application – so $30 if you want to make presentations, write documents and edit spreadsheets on the go) complete with brand new interface designs to make the most of touch, and the huge QWERTY keyboard, which appears to be more suitable for using on the lap with two hands than with rhythmic thumb jabbing as we’ve seen from iPhone and similar devices.
Also featured is Apple’s attempt at an eBook reader, which I didn’t hold out too much hope for before launch. Once again Apple have produced a versatile user interface, using finger actions on screen to turn the page and an ‘App Store’ style book shop with best sellers priced at $14.99, and older novels as low as $4.99 in the industry standard ePub format, wrapped, presumably, in custom DRM.
Third party apps were also on display, with Apple setting a ‘two week’ challenge to a small subset of developers, who got to play with the iPad for two weeks prior to the event and create some prototype applications. EA demonstrated racing on the touch screen with Need for Speed, the New York Times showed a version of their paper with built in video clips and NBA showed a new version of their application with live, full screen match highlights – all fairly standard fare.
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