Apple has launched the iPad, its tablet computer, with content from publishers including The New York Times and Penguin Books.
The iPad will use a highly responsive Multi-Touch display, allowing users to physically interact with applications and content.
It’s 0.5in. thick and weighs just 1.5 pounds − thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook. The screen is 9.7in. and has an LED-backlit display. It uses special adaptive charging technology to deliver up to 1,000 charge cycles without a significant decrease in battery capacity over a typical five-year lifespan. A new software developers’ kit will enable the development of better ‘universal apps’ by marketers.
The iPad comes in two versions, one with Wi-Fi and the other with both Wi-Fi and 3G. Apple and AT&T announced breakthrough 3G pre-paid data plans for the iPad in the US, with on-device activation and management. No UK carrier has yet been announced.
The iPad will include 12 new apps designed especially for it and will run almost all the 140,000 apps in the Apple App Store.
A newspaper reader program from The New York Times and games by videogame maker Electronic Arts have been designed for the iPad, while Major League Baseball has demonstrated how it plans to use the device to enhance its own digital offerings.
Apple claimed the precise Multi-Touch interface will make surfing the web on the iPad “an entirely new experience, dramatically more interactive and intimate than on a computer.” It includes an almost full-size ‘soft’ keyboard and users can import photos from a Mac, PC or digital camera, then see them organised as albums and share them in slideshows.
Use can also watch movies, TV shows and YouTube, all in HD, or listen to music from the iTunes Store. The device will sync with personal music and video collections in the same way as iPods and iPhones.
Apple also announced the iBooks app for the iPad, which includes Apple’s iBookstore, allowing users to buy and read books on the device. The iBookstore will feature books from major and independent publishers, including Penguin, Macmillan and Harper Collins.
Apple has 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, users can create formatted documents, presentations with animations and transitions, and spreadsheets with charts, functions and formulas. The three apps will be available separately through the App Store for around $10 (£6) each.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, “The 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.”
The iPad will be available in late March worldwide for a suggested retail price of $499 (£310) for the 16Gb Wi-Fi-only model, $599 (£370) for the 32Gb model, $699 (£430) for the 64Gb model. The Wi-Fi and 3G models will be available in April in the US and selected countries for a suggested retail price of $629 (£385) for the 16Gb model, $729 (£450) for the 32Gb model and $829 (£510) for the 64Gb model, although international pricing and worldwide availability will be announced at a later date. The iBookstore will be available in the US at launch.
This story first appeared on marketingweek.co.uk