Apple unveils tablet

After months of rumours and speculation, Apple has finally revealed their long-awaited tablet, called the ‘iPad’

By Christopher Poon [Media Editor]

After months of rumours and speculation, Apple has finally revealed their long-awaited tablet.

Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the product earlier today at an Apple event dubbed the ‘Latest Creation Event.’

Called the ‘iPad,’ the device will act like a ‘roided up version of an iPhone, and, like the iPhone, it sports a huge touchscreen as its method of input. Many of the iPhone’s features (swiping, virtual keyboard, accelerometer etc.) are all present in the iPad.

What makes the device different (apart from its obvious size) is that the iPad also borrows some features from the Apple desktop operating system, effectively making the device a hybrid iPhone/Macbook. Programs like iTunes, iCal (that’s Apple speak for calendar) and iPhoto on the iPad are more akin to the desktop versions.

As for applications, the iPad will run and use the same App store as the iPhone, but will have iPad-specific apps in the future. Any iPhone apps opened on the iPad can be upsized and rescaled to fit the devices 9.5-inch screen.

Continuing Apple’s trend of producing aesthetically pleasing products, the iPad is super thin, and sports a matte aluminium body, with a large glossy screen.

According to Jobs’ keynote speech, the iPad will sport a 10-hour battery life, GPS, compass, speaker, microphone and lots of other geeky goodness. It uses wireless internet and 3G, the latter of which is not set up with Canadian service providers at the moment, but all models do come unlocked (not tied to any specific provider).

Apple says it hopes to have agreements in place by June for all non-US data providers.

Gaming will also be a big part of the iPad, and bigwig game companies like EA Games have already begun developing games for the device. Graphics aren’t nearly as good as those you’ll find on modern day consoles or desktop computers, but they definitely outshine the iPhone.

As for memory, the iPad comes in three flavours, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB of flash storage.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the iPad, be prepared to shell out some serious cash. The low end version will cost $499 USD (16GB wifi-only model) and the high end will cost you $829 USD  (64GB wifi/3G-model). As of press time, only the US prices were announced, so expect Canadian prices to be slightly higher.

Apple hopes to have the wifi-only versions beginning to ship within 60 days internationally, and 90 days for the wifi/3G models.

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