Expressing a desire to create a third category between laptop computers and smartphones, Apple today revealed the iPad, its highly anticipated tablet-computing device.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs presented the iPad before a cheering crowd of Mac lovers in San Francisco. The new digital device is 9.7 inches tall (about the size of Amazon’s largest Kindle), weighs 1.5 pounds and is a half-inch thick. But the most surprising aspect of the iPad might be its cost; despite rumors of prices in the thousand-dollar range, consumers can snag one for as low as $499.
During the presentation Job’s boasted of the iPad’s ability to showcase the Internet better than other devices on the market, such as netbooks. “You can see a whole Web page in the palm of your hand,” he said. “[The iPad] is better at browsing the Web than a laptop.”
“It is so much more intimate than a laptop, and so much more capable than a smartphone,” Jobs added.
Besides the Web, Jobs emphasized the iPad’s advanced gaming features, along with its ability to deliver high-definition movies, TV shows and YouTube clips. But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the new device’s offerings for the media industry is iBooks — essentially Apple’s version of its hugely popular iTunes Music Store for print.
Initially, Apple has focused on selling books via iBooks — from publishers such as Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette. The New York Times did present a upgraded version of its iPhone app for the iPad, but magazines and newspapers did not receive as much stage time during Apple’s event.
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