Last week, Apple introduced its highly anticipated tablet computer device, the iPad. The iPad acts similarly to the popular iPhone, running existing applications from the Apple apps store but with a much larger, nearly 10-inch screen.
It is currently priced at $499 (not including applications, which will cost around $4 each). According to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, the iPad will be about a half-inch thick and weigh about 1½ pounds.
“What this device does is extraordinary,” Jobs said in an interview with CNN. “It is the best browsing experience you’ve ever had. … It’s unbelievably great … way better than a laptop. Way better than a smartphone.”
The iPad will allow users to read books, newspapers and magazines electronically, chat with friends, type and surf the Web. However, the long awaited tablet device has been receiving scrutiny from hopeful admirers, and not just for it’s name being linked to a woman’s personal hygiene product.
The iPad does not have a camera (although Apple has already announced a camera connection kit which will include a $30 pair of adapters which will let you either plug the camera in direct or plug in an SD card to pull out the photos). It also does not have a USB port, phone, or Flash capability and there have been talks of its inability to run multiple applications at one time.
“The innovation is going to be limited to what’s possible [on the iPad], you know,” said Peter Farago, vice president of marketing at Flurry, a group that tracks app sales in a CNN interview. “I don’t think imagination can override the true limits of what’s offered.”
The iPad, used as an attempt to save print journalism some say, may still be in too much of its infancy to produce what users want while slapping on an expensive price tag.
“A large fraction of the public doesn’t read the news online as they did in print,” said Pablo Boczkowski of Northwestern University in an interview with Slate Magazine. “They’re more interested in browsing, searching, linking, and interacting than they are in long, sustained intakes of information. “Put differently,” he said, “getting the news online is normally surfing, less often snorkeling, and very rarely scuba diving. Most people need a simple surfboard, rather than the complex—and costly—diving gear.”
According to Apple, there will be many more versions of the iPad to come. Only time will tell if the device becomes the next everyday household item or if it is merely a passing technological fad.
-By Laura Smith