Monday, 1 February 2010

Not an i-tablet but an i-Pad

"Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price".
With these words, Steve Jobs, looking thin, grey and with a weak voice, summed-up the new Apple i-Pad.
And I don't think that he exaggerates. I have to say that after viewing the over-an-hour long presentation, Jobs and his team convinced me. Stephen Fry, much quoted for his i-Pad support since the launch, was in the audience. I can understand how he too could be convinced.
What struck me?
1. First the statistics on i-Phone Apps: both Jobs and his Senior VP for Software, stated 3 billion downloads and over 140,000 apps available. That is huge. Impressive also is the revenue (selling) system that Apple has - i-Tunes - not the most wonderful bit of kit (what is it with Apple and multiple programmes running? They do not seem to be able to get to grips with this) - but one from which you have to buy all the extra bits through. Talk about controlling your revenue stream.... oh! And Apple is a $50 BILLION mobile devices company - number one in the World.
2. Existing i-Phone Apps work on the i-Pad. So a user has 140,000 apps already available.
3. Apps can be tweaked to enhance them for the i-Pad. Impressive. The New York Times app "captured the essence of reading the newspaper, .... providing a finite snapshot in time, exquisite typography, images and content, ... providing a superior reading experience". Using your fingers to interact with the newspaper, flicking through pages, obtaining content lists, double tapping up articles, customising fonts, well, even being able to see moving images in the newspaper page (as Harry might do in the Daily Prophet).
I was impressed by Brushes, an app which has been enhanced and which produces a complete art studio weighing one and a half pounds.
4. i-Book. This is a winner. A fully adjustable Kindle, with five major publishers' content negotiated. Go to the i-Book store, select, download, click on it on your bookshelf, read. It fits nicely into your hand, is thin, clear. The possibility for textbooks is excellent.
5. i-Work. Totally revamped to take advantage of the fingers interacting with the image on the screen. Impressive auto wrap around graphics, specific screens developed so that you can work with Numbers (spreadsheet) in an intuitive way.
6. Games. Well, not so interested in this but using the i-Pad as a steering device, seeing the image right in front of you, and having the accelerometer registering the movement was excellent. I can see why people are excited about this.
7. Battery life. Wait for it. Up to 10 hours. Will it turn out to be so?
8. Price. Here was a real surprise:
16GB for $499, 32GB for $599 and 64GB for $699.
Available? Those above in 60 days. 3G models for $130 more available a month later.
WiFi packages? Up to 250MB data monthly for $14.99 per month; unlimited $29.99. All i-Pad 3G models sold unlocked using GSM micro SIMS. Available internationally June, July.
Add the dock and keyboard accessories and you have a serious work and play machine.
What wonderful opportunities for education.

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