Apple's Steve Jobs introduces new 'iPad' tablet

January 27, 2010 11:47:53 PM PST
Apple is taking another bite out of the future with a ground-breaking new device called the iPad. Company CEO Steve Jobs showed off the highly-anticipated tablet-style computer Wednesday morning.

The iPad is not supposed to replace smart phones or laptop computers. Instead, Apples says it will create a new category in between.

Apple has a long record of creating anticipation and this time, everyone expected a tablet. The excitement lies in what the device does.

"It's unbelievably great, way better than a laptop. Way better than a smart phone," Jobs said Wednesday morning.

The iPad attempts to create a market in between a laptop and a phone, one that works as an e-book reader. Apple has a deal with five publishers already and a new iBookstore.

It is one that plays video and music, and displays photos. But, one of its strengths will be in video games. The 9.7-inch screen has 1,000 sensors that allow users to use touch to manipulate content.

"I think this is kind of that next step and they're leveraging the thing that captured a lot of peoples' imagination, which is that touch screen capability they introduced with the iPhone," said Mike McGuire, a research analyst with Garnter Media.

It is all in a device that weighs 1.5 pounds and measures just a half-inch deep with a starting price of $499. A few application vendors were given two weeks to find new ways to utilize the iPad's capabilities.

"For example, if you need to get through a passageway as we did in our demo, you apply three fingers to the screen and turn your hand in order to make the passage open, which is something that wasn't really possible before," explained Mark Hickey with Gameloft.

Game developer SGN in Palo Alto has 12 titles designed for existing Apple devices. CEO Randy Breen sees great potential for the iPad.

"I think it will allow you to do things that you could only do on a computer before and in some ways, I think it's more natural because of the touch interface, particularly the multi-touch, that is, the ability to scale the scale the screen with your fingers and that sort of thing," said Jobs.

The iPad could also usher in a new era for news media. The New York Times is also developing a custom app.

The basic 16GB iPad with Wi-Fi has a $499 price tag. It goes up in increments of $100 as you double flash memory. A 16GB iPad with 3G wireless capability starts at $629. Add $100 as you double memory.

Some criticism of the device has been surfacing. Critics say they wish the tablet had a removeable battery and a camera.

The Wi-Fi version of the iPad will not be out until the end of March. The 3G version will be out at the end of April.

ABC7's David Louie was blogging as Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in San Francisco. Read the details here.