A new electronic alter has been erected – all hail the Apple iPad

One of geekdomes worst kept secrets, with more leaks than a sieve has finally been confirmed this morning, it garnered so much interest that the live feed and blogging of the event melted several websites that couldn’t cope with the peak demand

The Apple iPad is part app store, part book store (books priced between US$12.99 – $US14.99), part movie store, part gaming device, part communication tool and part coffee maker.

Apple has taken the emerging need of a single convergent easy to use device to playback, engage and interact on and have interestingly downplayed (in their initial launch video) the strict work related applications (although iWork – for iPad including pages, numbers, keynote was announced later).

This device with a 9.7 inch or 24.638 cm screen, is 13.4mm thick and weighs 0.68kg. and has optional keyboard dock, camera connections and mostly affordable price points – the 16GB, Wi-Fi-only version costs US$500, while the 32GB is US$600 and 64GB is US$700. Pricing increases by US$130 to add 3G. The Wi-Fi-only models ship in 60 days, while 3G models will ship in 90 – Australian prices and shipping are still to be announced but the 3G version, which is the optimal experience, will require yet another spend with the telco’s and could make 3 internet connections you have to fund – the phone, the laptop and the iPad (we could combine or cut back on our devices, but I don’t think this will happen in the short term).

It uses a 1GHz “A4” chip that can decode HD video for up to 10 hours on a single charge (technology they inherited when they bought P.A. Semiconductor) has a stunning resolution (1024 x 768), with incredible speed.

The downside is just like the IPhone, there is no multitasking, you can’t do two things at once (yes, for most men this has always been the case ha, ha). There is no built in camera or video (although the devices size may be a bit awkward for taking photos with anyway) and the keyboard is OK, but not great and of course there is no voice calling – teleconferencing on one of these would have been interesting and I’m sure will come at some later stage. Also SD cards to expand on board memory will be available, but in the form of an adaptor – an apple specific adaptor and still no Flash content allowed.

I have long spoken about convergent technology and Apple has been the best mainstream example of this over the past few years. This will be the new must have and it will be interesting to see whether Apple will loosen the reins on the OS and stop controlling so tightly the end products.

This will open up a new paradigm of social engagement and interaction. What will emerge from this is each person in the family, social group or workplace will have their own IPad, or an eventual competitors’ take on this, with each person receiving their own copy of the same streamed information, TV show or entertainment.

This IPad will certainly shake up the industry and more importantly catapult the consumers expectations of what technology should offer them and how they wish to interact with it.

There will certainly be some wringing of hands and consternation over it from doomsdayers and we have yet to see the marketplace acceptance of this, although it is safe to assume that it will be huge, but as always a new electronic device does not herald the end of the world as we know it, it merely gives us a new electronic alter at which to worship.

Eye on the Future - Jan 27, 2010 | All
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