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Apple Unveils the iPad

By Glenn Fleishman January 27, 2010

[PubliCola's TechNerd, Glenn Fleishman, is on the scene at Apple's iPad announcement this morning. Follow his tweets here.]

The name may make every woman in America think of feminine hygiene products, but Apple has chosen to dub its new tablet the iPad. It's 9.7-inch display with 16 to 64 GB of RAM, one-half inch thick, and 1 1/2 pounds in weight.

Steve Jobs pitched the iPad as filling a gap between smartphones like the BlackBerry, Android, and iPhone, and full-featured laptops. Apple and Jobs hate netbooks for being expensive, but underfeatured—mostly running unfamiliar or old operating system software.

Apple is hoping to convince consumers that they want a video, gaming, and reading device that's larger than a smartphone or iPod touch without having to hold a laptop on their lap—and without the battery limits. Apple says a single charge gives you 10 hours of use and a month of standby time.

There's no keyboard; it uses the "glass" or virtual keyboard that appears as needed, just as with the iPhone and iPod touch. This has been a sticking point for many interested in a smartphone because the keyboard is so small. The iPad has what CEO Steve Jobs called a nearly full-sized keyboard, which should make it easier to type.

Apple designed the device to use the 140,000 applications already available in the App Store for iPhone OS. Developers can update programs to take advantage of iPad, but the iPad will run existing programs at original size (centered with black borders in the middle), or at double-pixel size to fit the screen.

The event is still going on, so we don't yet know the price of the device, when it will ship, whether there are cellular carrier tie-ins, nor what the electronic book interface will be like and what books will be available. Check for updates soon.
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