If you were following this morning’s Apple announcement, it may have been quite overwhelming and your head could be spinning in confusion. We’re here to clear things up and give you additional details over what we posted this morning. What we know so far is that the device itself, in terms of hardware and software, doesn’t disappoint. Out of the box, it can support every single application available in the iTunes App Store right now. There is a new version of iWork available for the iPad — with each application going for $9.99 (which means $30 for the whole kaboodle). The Wi-Fi only version will be available in 60 days, and the 3G and Wi-Fi versions in 90 days. Hit the break as we break it down for you!
First, Connectivity and the Internet
The iPad comes with Wi-Fi — duh. What everyone was waiting for is a 3G version with carrier support. For better or worse, most of you will think the latter, the iPad will be on AT&T in the U.S. Data plan pricing, however, is respectable: $14.99 for 250MB per month, or $29.99 for all-you-can-hoard data. However, Steve Jobs did mention that the iPad is unlocked and supports micro-SIMS – this means if your carrier supports micro-SIMS, there’s no real reason for the inability to connect to the Internet.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
If you thought there was only going to be one version of this device, perhaps you haven’t been keeping up! There will be three different storage capacity options in one of two possible categories: Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G. As we mentioned earlier, there will be 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions to choose from depending on your needs.
The Price Is Right
Most analysts were throwing around high numbers for iPad pricing, usually starting around $1,000 and working their way up. However, when Steve Jobs said, “Grab the iPad that’s in the kitchen,” we were thinking that this is going to be a really accessible and affordable device if you can leave it lying around the house. Sure enough, the iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version. The 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi only versions go for $599 and $699, respectively.
For the Wi-Fi + 3G versions, the price gets a little bit higher, but we would rather spend the extra cash to have the 3G. After all, it’s better to have it and not need it than, well, you know where we’re going with this. So, for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB you’re looking to dish out $629, $729 and $829, respectively.
An E-Reader To End All E-Readers
Hardcore bibliophiles need their books. It’s part of the reason why the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook are such hot commodities right now. But would you pay for a Kindle or Nook if, for just a little extra, you can have an e-reader that supports over 140,000 applications and offers real web browsing and media playback? Probably not. The iPad features iBooks, an application that looks strikingly similar to the “Classics” app available for the iPhone now. Books are displayed on a bookshelf and selecting one opens the book, just like on the iPhone app. It’s a very slick and clean interface and easy to read. There is the argument that e-Ink is so much easier on the eyes, but we spend all day reading blogs and news on the Internet without too many complaints, especially with LED-backlit displays which the iPad makes use of. And with 10 hours of battery life and a month of stand-by time, you won’t be rushing to grab your charger just before you find out what happens to Alex Cross in the last chapter.
One More Thing…
So we have a giant iPhone with long battery life and a faster processor — Apple’s very own 1GHz A4. It supports all the iPhone apps, has an oleophobic touchscreen, ambient light sensors and an accelerometer. But come on, Apple! Where is multi-tasking? Where are the front or rear facing cameras? Apple wanted to fill in the gap between the iPhone and the Macbook, and Jobs said that netbooks were definitely not the answer — “cheap, underpowered laptops.” Going by that logic of fill-in-the-gaps, we should at least be able to expect multi-tasking and cameras for video chat. Throw in these few, critical extras and we’d be jumping up and down.
The Apple iPad is a hot device, no doubt about that. Our only concern is its current 3G options are limited to AT&T right now and there is no multi-tasking. Are these dealbreakers? Well, that all depends on you and how important these features are. It also depends on whether AT&T does something about its network performance and what coverage is like in your area (if you’re considering the Wi-Fi with 3G version). Barring those few issues, if they’re not a big deal to you then we really can’t see why you wouldn’t want to pick up this slick new device from Apple. For what it is, and especially compared to what’s out there, they definitely just moved the goal posts for almost every other competitor in category.