|The Apple iPad has finally arrived and the tablet computer from the firm that brought us the iPhone and the iPod has been accompanied by a lot of promotion and generated heated discussions across the world. To cut through all of the marketing material and ignore the biases of Apple fans and sceptics, let us take a whistle-stop tour around the hardware and software that powers the iPad experience.|
The iPad follows on from the design of the iPhone , though with a 9.7 inch screen it is considerably larger. The screen uses LED backlighting, which allows the iPad to remain slim whilst providing a bright, vibrant onscreen image. Inside a 1GHz processor powers version 3.2 of the iPhone operating system software, producing an excellent touch screen interface experience for users of all abilities. The iPad is available with 16 to 64GB of flash storage onboard, which means you can keep many files and apps without filling it to the brim.
The iPad comes with some excellent apps on board, but you can always add more by visiting the App Store. Many apps will be created exclusively for the iPad and one great example is iBooks. This is basically a digital download service dealing exclusively in eBooks and because the iPad is so light and easy to hold, combining it with an eBook makes perfect sense. You can get the latest releases or a classic works from the literary canon. The initial version of the iPad to arrive on the shelves will sport Wi-Fi connectivity and nothing more, but a month later Apple will be launching a model that comes complete with 3G networking. This will make the iPad fully compatible with mobile broadband networks, allowing for truly wireless internet access anywhere with adequate network coverage. You will of course need a mobile broadband data contract with a network provider, but the 3G iPad will be just as capable as the iPhone when it comes to browsing on the go.
The main problem with the iPad and one which many have been confounded by, is its lack of support for Flash content on the internet. This means that many online games, video streaming sites and interactive elements will be incompatible with the iPad and until Apple decides to add in an update, it looks like it is set to stay this way.
One market that the iPad is sure to have an impact on is the PC market, or more specifically the laptop and netbook market. Apple has created a products that is lighter and far easier to use than a majority of portable computing devices and as it can be held like a book and manipulated using nothing but the tips of your fingers, it is certainly a more intuitive and sensible way to enjoy web content and apps from your sofa. As a threat to full sized desktops, the iPad is relatively benign, because it lacks the processing power and fully featured programs for video editing and gaming that are typically associated with Windows-based PCs. However, if you are more interested in sending emails, browsing the internet and reading eBooks then the iPad will be much more attractive, particularly if you are already an iPhone fan.
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