Today is the big day when Apple reveals its least surprising, most-leaked product ever, the Newton Message Pad – whoops, sorry – I meant the iPad. It looks very pretty (note: the keyboard dock is an artists impression, I think):
Seems like (non-surprise again) more than a large iPhone and less than a laptop. It’s just over a centimeter thick, weighs 700g, and has a 9.7-inch LCD screen (with 1024 by 768 resolution). There is no hard drive and it has a 1gHz CPU (the iPhone 3G S runs on a 600mHz CPU). A battery life of 10 hours is claimed.
Thankfully, it will actually have app versions of iWork to run, making it considerably more useful than an iPhone.
To me, this is the clincher. I could use this machine to fully replace my laptop – as long as I have a full-size computer (laptop or iMac) at home. If you want only one computer in your life, then you are probably better off with a macbook.
The iPad is going into direct competition with Amazon and the Kindle with a book-reading app and a new iBookstore. I suspect that the app will made reading a book far more intuitive and “book like” than any other ebook software. Just swishing a page across with your finger will enhance the experience of reading – finger-lickers will have to refrain. Although MacGraw-Hill are not mentioned in the publishers list that Steve Jobs revealed today, they have already let the cat out of the bag that they will be supporting the iPad. This means a lot of your text books may be available for the iPad.
Perhaps the only surprise is the price. US$489 for the 16GB version, US$599 for 32GB and US$699 for 64GB. 3G connectivity costs an extra US$130. This is certainly cheaper than the US$1000 that CNet was bandying about (but it was never going to be quite that expensive) but quite close to the $600 postulated by Apple Insider particularly when you add 3G. Add the fact that they are likely to drop in price substantially by the end of the year (if the iPhone story is anything to go by) and the 16GB model (without 3G) will probably be hovering only $50-100 above the smaller Kindle (currently US$259). If textbooks are available and cheaper, it may well be that the cost of the 16GB iPad may be recouped, or nearly recouped, in book savings. If that happens, expect every university student in the world wanting one (the MacDaughters are already drooling on my shoulders – down girls, down!). Unless the Kindle drops sub US$100, I suspect they will rapidly lose out to the iPad. Why would you want to buy a black and white toy, the Kindle, that only reads books when, for $200 more, you can have a real computer?
Now for the important question. Does the MacDoctor want one?
Does a baby go “goo”?
The Keyboard dock is real. There are also plenty of eye catching pictures on Apple’s site
I forgot that the Kindle DX, with the same screen size as the iPad, is US$489 – the same price as the bottom end iPad. I reiterate – Why would you want to buy a black and white toy, the Kindle, that only reads books when, for the same price , you can have a real computer?