Skip to Content

The iPad: Like an iPhone, Only Bigger

Apple reveals its much-awaited “magical and revolutionary” new product.
January 27, 2010

Apple announced its latest creation, the iPad, at a special event in San Francisco, CA, today.

Big idea: Apple CEO Steve Jobs reveals the iPad at an event in California.

CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to unveil the device, which has been the subject of often dizzying speculation and excitement in recent weeks. “We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a magical and revolutionary product today,” Jobs said.

The expectation and hope for many has been that Apple will revolutionize both the e-reader and tablet computing markets, just as it did with the cell-phone and PDA markets through the iPhone.

The iPad features a 9.7-inch (25-centimeter) multi-touch, in-plane switching LCD display; it is half an inch (1.3 centimeters) thick and weighs 1.5 pounds (.6 kilograms). The main processor is a one-gigahertz chip made by Apple, and the device is said to come with 10 hours of battery life when in full use.

Along with 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth, the iPad will connect to AT&T’s 3G wireless network. But the data plan is a hybrid of what is offered for phones and laptops already. Users will be asked to pay either $14.99 a month for up to 250 megabytes of data, or $29.99 a month for unlimited data.

The device costs between $499 and $829. The cheapest model will come with Wi-Fi only and 16 gigabytes of flash memory; the most expensive version includes 64 gigabytes of memory and 3G access. The device will ship in 60 days.

During the announcement, Jobs was careful to distinguish the iPad from the netbooks that have grown popular as a cheap alternative to laptops for browsing the Internet and simple computing tasks. Championing the design principles for which Apple is famous, he argued that the new device had to be better than a laptop for Web browsing, sending e-mail, viewing photos, reading e-books, and other tasks.

The interface for the device is similar to that of the iPhone: a multi-touch screen and an on-screen keyboard. The iPad is designed to run all iPhone apps “unmodified, right out of the box,” according to Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone software. It can run them either in an iPhone-sized window on the screen, or full-screen at lower resolution. Developers can also modify their applications specifically for the iPad, using a new software development kit that Apple made available today. “We think its going to be a whole other gold rush for developers as they build apps for the iPad,” Forstall said.

Jobs and others demonstrated numerous applications running on an iPad. These included games, maps, and versions of Apple’s iWork suite, showing word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Representatives from the New York Times demonstrated an electronic version of the newspaper created especially for the iPad. Jobs also announced an e-book reader app for iPad called iBooks that will have access to the catalogs of five major book publishers–Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Hachette Book Group.

Carl Howe, an analyst focusing on mobile research at the Yankee Group, said that Apple is cleverly building on what it has already established with the iPod and iPhone.

Though Jobs did not focus as much attention on the e-reader potential of the device as expected, Howe believes that aspect could still prove significant. Because the iPad, unlike the Kindle, is designed with a high-resolution screen that can easily handle apps, movies, and music in addition to books, he thinks it will be more attractive to users than more dedicated e-readers. It might also be more attractive to publishers because the system will let them preserve more of their formatting and typography, and possibly allow for advertising.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.