Breaking News: Apple Announces iPad

Bill Loguidice's picture

In a surprise to no one, Apple announced the iPad, their long rumored and hoped for tablet-style device. Despite being saddled with what in my opinion is the worst name for a new product since the Wii, it will surely be lapped up by Apple fans. Unlike the Wii, though, I don't think the name will eventually become catchy or memorable, particularly since a single letter separates it from Apple's own iPod. Basically an upsized iPhone and compatible with all existing apps for that platform, the major revelation thus far about the new device is the companion iBooks store, which I imagine would be a subset of iTunes. While iBooks is an important step for the eReader market and digital books in general - shockingly Apple is supporting the industry's ePub standard - it remains to be seen even with a no doubt beautiful 10inch color screen whether it will have any of the gentle-to-the-eye qualities of eInk displays. (Owners of recent gen eBook readers will know what I'm talking about, i.e., eInk is as paper like as we have at this point, and it's a huge distinction for electronic reading from traditional displays.)

As both an iPhone 3G owner and an enthusiast of and user of graphics tablets (a Gateway Tablet PC is my primary personal laptop these days), I'll be curious if there is any stylus support, as that would make this device much more useful for sketching and note taking than standard finger input. If it's missing that feature AND it has a high price tag, I fail to see the niche such a device could ultimately fill, particularly with netbooks being fully functional mini computers with keyboards and similar 10 hour battery life.

Further news, updates and discussions will take place in the comments to this blog post. Let us know what YOU think!

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Bill Loguidice
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Prices starting at $499 (on

Prices starting at $499 (on up) with optional 3G data plans from $14.99 a month all the way up to $29.99 a month, the latter of which includes unlimited data. Not as expensive as I thought, but I still fail to see the niche this will ultimately fill beyond early adopters and Apple lovers.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Chris Kennedy
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Awesome

I am all over this.

I was thinking they would have a crafty-looking eBook reader, but this is more of a tablet computer/oversized iPhone. I figured they would have some crazy price like $999 before they started the event. As time moved on, I thought they were crazy for all of the items they were putting in it. The price kept going up in my mind. After all the features, they gave the price and I was shocked. It was no longer if I would get one. It was how many would I buy.

I was recently just trying to consider what options are out there for a kitchen computer. Well...nevermind that DIY project. It would make more sense to develop a decent docking solution on the wall for the iPad. Meanwhile, the size and weight of it makes it perfect for wondering around the house checking e-mail/chatting/reading/etc. I was thinking about upgrading my laptop at one point, but this fits the bill. It does the simple things I want, it is light, and it weighs almost nothing.

The Wi-Fi and bluetooth capabilities are giving me ideas of home automation integration, and wiring up a house for audio while using this thing to control my music has my mind racing.

I wonder what apps on the iPhone will seem like a natural transfer to the iPad. Sword of Fargoal on a 9.7" screen sounds fun.

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Bill Loguidice
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Perhaps my impressions will

Perhaps my impressions will change when/if I hear some releases for the thing. Right now, it's just an upsized iPhone, which is not a bad thing, but I already have an iPhone. I was just expecting something with a few more unique features. It seems like it just has a bit more power under the hood than the best iPhone and a bigger screen. Nothing really I can get excited about at this point.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Chris Kennedy
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Well

Heh. I have to focus on one thing in particular - Armchair Arcade.

Yep. AA is something I like to casually browse/view/write on a regular basis. With the iPad, I can:

1: Read AA a lot easier than I could read it on my iPhone
2: Write a blog entry on AA. (I rarely if EVER try to write an entry on AA using my iPhone. I am just too much of an amplified writer)
3: Watch Matt Chat in HD
4: Watch any other AA videos on youtube. (too bad they still don't have flash)

You can do a lot of that on the iPhone & easily at that, but I tend to go chase down a laptop or sit at my desktop if I seriously want to do anything for more than a few seconds. Smart phones are great, but they are still small phones. Unless a dedicated app or mobile version of a website is written for a given site, zooming around gets to be a pain.

That said - I think your mobile computer status in your home is further down the road than mine, Bill. See that from my perspective, it makes a bit more sense to me that you would not be as excited as I am. I have no other touch screen devices other than my iPhone. In fact, I have a bunch of semi-old laptops that need new batteries, OS reinstalls and maybe some new parts to bring them up to speed. Even after that, they aren't the slickest bunch.

Essentially, I am jumping past a lot of this crud by considering and purchasing an iPad.

I haven't decided which one to get yet, though.

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Rowdy Rob
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Some speculation on iPad marketing problems

First of all, it looks great, and the iPhone interface on an eBook device is very cool.

But....

It doesn't have a display that can be viewed well outdoors (as far as I can tell). Color and animation are great, and probably necessary to allow the flexibility of the device. But without an eInk display of some type, the usefulness of this device as an actual e-book reader diminishes drastically.

The iPhone is useful because, beneath all the glitz, it's still a cellphone, and EVERYONE needs a cell phone to carry around. With the iPhone, you get a cellphone, camera, music player, web browser, and etc. etc. all in a device that fits in your pocket. It's a cell phone! You can carry it anywhere!

The iPod is an advanced music player, with many cool features. You can listen to music while jogging, sitting on the train, or walking the beach. And... you can carry it anywhere!

For an ebook reader, if you're carrying it around with you, you're probably going to be carrying it outdoors. However, without a screen that can be easily viewed in sunlight, the practicality diminishes drastically. If I'm laying out at the beach, the iPad sounds like an expensive paperweight in those circumstances. If I have to read a book in ideal lighting conditions, I might as well buy a regular hardcover book and turn the bedroom light on. Much cheaper.

The presumed primary function of this device, an "ebook reader," is thus diminished.

For games: still no built-in controller.

Without a built-in cell phone, the iPad is in a weird position. The iPhone already apparently has much the same capabilities in portable form, albeit with a small screen. The iPad DOESN'T have a cell phone built-in. Will people outside of Apple loyalists be gung-ho about this thing? After all, reading is something most people can do without a high-tech device, and do it much cheaper. Figure in a worldwide recession, and it becomes hard for the average person to justify the price for a fancy "book."

Apple needs a true killer app for this thing to really catch fire. It could be VERY CHEAP newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Without cell phone or camera built-in, it doesn't sound much more practical than a tablet PC, as cool as it is as a toy.

I think that the iPad will be a reasonable success, only because Apple has developed a cult following. But this product looks VERY vulnerable to competition. ebook readers with Android OS and a color eInk display could be very dangerous to the iPad. The iPhone and iPod were (and still are) state-of-the-art products, but this thing seems more like an iPod with a big screen!

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Matt Barton
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Whoa! I'm impressed. I'll

Whoa! I'm impressed. I'll probably be getting one of these at some point, perhaps when my current tablet PC bites the dust. Assuming there will be some form of Microsoft Office I can install on it, it'd be a great replacement for my tablet. I mostly use my tablet for precisely for this stuff anyway, with the only "heavy lifting" being working on PowerPoints and the like. I'm sure that keyboard would be awful for typing long documents, but hopefully would suffice for taking notes and writing up blogs and so on (and I'm guessing serious users will get the dock keyboard thing they mention).

I'm assuming that people who get this will already have an iPhone. If I were Apple, I'd try to offer some advantages and "synergies" (gasp, did I use that word??) between the two devices. I can imagine all sorts of interesting possibilities there.

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Bill Loguidice
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It's highly unlikely it will

It's highly unlikely it will have a real version of Office any time soon, but I'm sure iWorks will suffice in that regard, and at $10, it's probably a no-brainer. I can't see this ever being a laptop replacement (too small of a screen and sporting an alternative OS), but assuming one can touch type on the touch screen as is implied, it could definitely replace a netbook. I haven't seen any dock options or support for a real keyboard and mouse announced myself, but that doesn't mean they won't eventually happen (or that they were in fact announced). Again, upsized iPhone from what I can tell, and that's not necessarily a bad thing for most, and it would certainly be a consideration for me (assuming I find the typing experience good) if I needed a netbook (which, luckily I don't. My wife has the Asus Eee 1000HE, which runs XP and works very well, with 8 hours+ of battery life.).

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
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Chris Kennedy
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Dock

They actually showed a docking station with a keyboard during Apple's event earlier today. http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/28/apples-ipad-keyboard-dock-case-and-ot...

All this stuff adds up. Many people are pointing out its lack of ability to multitask. I hope I can safely *assume* that they will eventually add multitasking to the OS, and this device is in its infancy.

Many of the editorials are negative right now. Very interesting...

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Bill Loguidice
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iPad - trying to love it, but I can't...
Chris Kennedy wrote:

They actually showed a docking station with a keyboard during Apple's event earlier today. http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/28/apples-ipad-keyboard-dock-case-and-ot...

All this stuff adds up. Many people are pointing out its lack of ability to multitask. I hope I can safely *assume* that they will eventually add multitasking to the OS, and this device is in its infancy.

Many of the editorials are negative right now. Very interesting...

Interesting about the dock, I had not seen it until your link. At first I was like, "where's the mouse?", but I suppose you're still expected to touch the screen to serve the "pointing" function. That will also be something of an adjustment, and one I'm not sure is 100% effective since there's a certain efficiency with keeping your hands to the mouse/keyboard paradigm. I have a touch screen PC desktop as my main system at home and I only rarely touch it, sticking to the mouse and keyboard, though of course the OS is designed around the latter paradigm, not the former.

I'm trying very, very hard to like this iPad and see all the positives, particularly since I LOVE my iPhone, but I have to agree with the other pundits out there who are down on the device right now.

Multi-tasking is not a big deal on the iPhone, but indeed, something that's meant to be used as more of a computer, it is indeed an issue. The only multi-tasking I can do on the iPhone is is when I'm on a call I can open up one more app. There is NO REASON why the iPad, with its increased technical beef can't multi-task, it simply has to be a deficiency of the OS.

Also, there's one other thing that bugs me and perhaps I just don't see it at the moment... There's no ability to video conference on this thing, right? Even the humblest netbook has a Webcam built right in, and it's still cheaper than the iPad. Again, I'm trying to get on board with this iPad thing being the technical slave that I am, I but I'm really, really struggling here...

Books!
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.
[About Me]

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clok1966
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Dont see this being anything

Dont see this being anything but an Apple fan boys wet dream. As an Ex Iphone user (great gadget, crappy phone). The Iphone has wonderful apps, is a pretty neat gadget that is actually usefull at times as a portable tool. But the actual phone part is pretty poor. Average to poor voice quality and sound, AT&T is simply not a good provider (lowest customer satisfaction of all cell companies, poor coverage for anybody who travels alot, its just a fact. people who stay in one location where it works well may not see this, but us that have to travel alot know it). Slick interface that is easy for almost anybody to use. Most people overlook the average to poor phone ability becuase the rest of it is so good. I replaced mine with a DROID, and unfortnatly the phone part is pretty much the same, only average quailty. I ues my phone alot (business and i talk about 4-5 hours a day on it to many different people in many parts of the country, and get the same comments i did on my Iphone, "you sound like your in a tunnel" both phones :( My LG Env I used for about 3 months (crappy work phone for the email etc side) everybody loved the phone side of. Hard to have it both ways it seems :(

Ipad (agree, had heard all the tampex jokes a few weeks ago (before release, why didnt they change it?)) is just a giant Iphone really. Its treading in the laptop area but inst a laptop, its simpley to big to carry around with you (like a Iphone) if I'm going to carry something that big with me, may as well be a laptop that can do everything, not just "somethings". Right now I cant see a reason to have it instead of a laptop. Its light, has good battery life, but laptops are almost this light nowdays (1-2 pounds different) and while 10 hours of battery life is sweet, my dell is about 6 (with the 9 cell) and it cost about $700 so its not likethe Ipad is that much cheaper.

Its a neat gadget that will have a very limited "need" area, most purchasers will have to simpley "want" it (laptops are a need item for many, and yes a "want" item for many too). its an Apple product so it has the hardcore Apple people who will buy it reguardless.
To me its basicly a form of Ipod, a fun gadget and it looks like it will excel at that, but its size really is going tobe its hinderance IMHO.
But nowdays Im wrong more often then I'm right (and so far Apple has a great track record in the last few years) so maybe they know what they are doing with this too, only time will tell. We are a gadget socicity and even if we dont need it we buy it, it may just be the next "big thing".

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