Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, proudly shows a brand new iPad in San Francisco on January 27, 2010. (Credit: ©Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
Wednesday, February 27th was scheduled to be a special day for gadget geeks and politicians. Before both events took place, there was a tremendous amount of overexposure and bloated expectations in the media. On this day, President Barack Obama was going to deliver his first speech on the State of the Union in Washington D.C. and far away on the West Coast, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was preparing to address his fans at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco.
This story is about Apple Inc. and its charismatic technology Guru, Stephen Jobs.
At exactly 1:00 p.m. New York’s time, Apple’s legendary leader Steve Jobs took to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to disrupt the tech industry once again. He looked disturbingly thin, much as he did when he took the same stage in September to introduce new iPods. But there was a sparkle in his eye and a smile on his face as he got a big standing ovation from the crowd.
You probably know by now, that Apple Inc. is no longer a computer company. Its spokesmen have been trumpeting for several months that Apple Inc. is now a “mobile device company.” “Apple makes protable media-centric devices. ” Apple is considered the number one mobile devices company in the world.
Apple zealots were expecting an electronic tablet last Wednesday which would fit in a new product category squeezed in between a notebook and a smartphone. They got what they expected and a lot more.
Apple on Wednesday finally unveiled its tablet computer, called the iPad, at an invite-only event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in downtown San Francisco. The device, which looks like a larger version of Apple’s iPod Touch will be available in two to three months, and starts at $499. The name is controversial. Many women associate the word pad with feminine hygiene, if you know what I mean. But I’m sure as the dust settles, Apple will keep the name intact and the women of this world will calm their nerves and accept the gadget and its gorgeous features.
The iPad comes in models ranging from 16GB to 64GB. All versions will have Wi-Fi, but there will be options with 3G as well. Pricing for the Wi-Fi-only models is $499, $599, and $699 for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, respectively. 3G versions will be $130 more.
Experts feel the iPad is going to change the way we think about mobile technology beyond the smartphone. Some fanatics are even saying the iPad will save the publishing industry from certain death. They are screaming at the top of their lungs that this is a gadget capable of introducing a disruptive technology in the publishing domain. I’m sure Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com disagrees as well as Sony and Barnes and Noble who also manufacture e-book readers.
In advance of today’s announcements, there was rampant speculation that the iPad would be a Kindle-killer. The iBook app and iBook Store present a challenge for Amazon, as does the multi-touch color screen of the iPad. Jobs gave kudos to Kindle and said Apple planned to “stand on Amazon’s shoulders and go a little further.” Initially, Apple has made deals with the five largest publishers in the world to make books available on the iPad. Extending the iTunes and App Store models, the iBook Store allows consumers to purchase books directly from the iPad and enjoy them immediately. The iPad is just infinitely better-looking and more responsive than the Kindle, not to mention it has color and doesn’t require external illumination.
Are Apple zealots exaggerating? Not quite. Not only has Apple sold tens of millions of iPhones, it has pulled off a stunningly successful exercise in design democracy whereby thousands of D.I.Y. designers have developed applications, or programs, for them. Some 140,000 apps have been programmed, and more than two billion downloaded from Apple’s App Store. What’s almost more impressive is that Apple has achieved this despite its own history—and instincts—as the consummate corporate control freak.
Can you buy the iPad now? Hold your horses; the baby has not reached the store shelves yet. Jobs explained the Wi-Fi models will start shipping in February, and the 3G models are set to come out a month after that.
Apple is selling a number of first-party accessories, including a dock with a full-sized keyboard with a price tag of $69, a camera connection kit that lets users import images from their SD cards, and a case that doubles as a stand. Apple has not announced pricing for any of these items.
The iPad measures 7.47 inches wide by 9.56 inches tall by 0.5 inch thick, and weighs 1.5 pounds. Held in your hands, the dimensions and heft have a natural, magazine-like feel.
Unlike the polished chrome of the iPod or glossy plastic of the iPhone, the back of the iPad seems less likely to show fingerprints and wear. Like any Apple product, though, expect to see a boatload of cases and screen protectors for the iPad by the time it launches in April. With no mouse and no physical keys to feel, writing and editing will be more effort than on a laptop.
The iPad isn’t all play, and no work. Apple will have a special iWork package for the tablet. The pack is priced at $99. The iPad marks the first time Apple has released mobile versions of its iWork suite of productivity applications, including Numbers, Keynote, and Pages. Each app sells separately at $10 each, and will be compatible with the desktop version of the Mac application suite (sold separately for $79).
Basically Apple’s new gadget provides excellent photo management, casual Web browsing, e-books, calendar, and e-mail. The iPad isn’t a pocket device, and holding it for extended periods becomes tiresome. Some experts are saying it’s more like a living room computer. It’s important to highlight that a camera is notably absent, and Flash, the ubiquitous software that handles video and animation on the Web, does not work on the device.
Will the iPad be a hit like the iPod, iMac or the iPhone.? I don’t know. It’s hard to say no when you have the magic name of Apple behind a product. As far as I’m concerned, the price is not an attraction. For $500 I can get more bang from a decent notebook with a comparable screen and a web cam included to communicate with my friends via Skype or Yahoo Messenger. Let’s wait and see. I’m sure the iPad will be a subject of interest for many months to come. Good Day.
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