Apple iPad tablet: Specs, features, price announced

Apple on Wednesday announced the iPad, a 9.7-inch tablet computer that fits in between the iPhone smartphone and the MacBook computer.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Apple on Wednesday announced the iPad, a 9.7-inch tablet computer that fits in between the iPhone smartphone and the MacBook computer.

The 0.5-inch thick device, which weighs 1.5 lbs., is intended to be used for web browsing, e-mail, photos, video, music, games and e-books -- pretty much everything that its pint-sized cousin the iPod touch can do, only bigger.

[Image Gallery: Apple iPad official pics]

"We've always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said. "It's the combination of these two things that have let us make the iPad."

In fact, it can run all iPhone and iPod touch apps out of the box, with no modification, using pixel-doubling technology.

It comes preinstalled with iTunes and the App Store and has a virtual keyboard for typing, as well as pop-over menus. It supports HD video and offers 802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR support, as well as an accelerometer, compass, speaker, microphone and Apple standard 30-pin connector.

Inside, you'll find a 1GHz Apple A4 chip -- yes, in-house silicon courtesy P.A. Semi -- as well as flash memory ranging in capacity from 16GB to 64GB. Jobs claims its battery will last 10 hours with use and "more than a month" in standby mode.

It will not support multitasking.

The device is arsenic-free, BFR-free, mercury-free, PVC-free and "highly recyclable," Jobs said.

The device's support for e-books comes in the way of "iBooks," a new online bookstore. (If you're counting, that's three stores for Apple now: App Store, iTunes Store and iBookstore.)

The iPad can also support documents, spreadsheets and presentations with a new, modified version of the company's iWork suite.

While all iPads will have Wi-Fi, mobile broadband 3G connectivity (via AT&T) depends on the version: A plan for up to 250 megabytes of data will cost $14.99 per month, and an unlimited data plan will cost $29.99 per month.

All iPad 3G models are unlocked devices and use GSM microSIM cards. International deals are expected to be announced sometime in June or July, Jobs said.

The iPad will start at $499 and scale to $829, depending on version:

  • 16GB Wi-Fi only: $499
  • 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G: $629
  • 32GB Wi-Fi only: $599
  • 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G: $729
  • 64GB Wi-Fi only: $699
  • 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G: $829

No exact date was set for availability, but Wi-Fi versions of the device are expected in March 2010 with 3G models to follow in April.

Accessories are also available: a dock that functions like a picture frame, an external keyboard (effectively turning the iPad into a MacBook, sans Mac OS X) and a case.

Full specs:

  • 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip
  • 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
  • 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
  • Height: 9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
  • Width: 7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
  • Depth: 0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
  • Weight: 1.5 pounds (.68 kg) Wi-Fi model; 1.6 pounds (.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G model
  • Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously
  • Digital compass
  • Wi-Fi model: Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology
  • Wi-Fi + 3G model: UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850, 900,1800, 1900 MHz), Data only, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology
  • Storage: 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light sensor
  • In the box: iPad, Dock connector to USB cable, 10W Power Adapter, Documentation
  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20,000Hz
  • Audio formats: AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV
  • User-configurable maximum volume limit
  • Support for 1024 x 768 with Dock Connector to VGA adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Composite A/V Cable, 576i and 480i with Apple Composite A/V Cable
  • Video formats: H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • Viewable document types: .jpg, .tiff, .gif (images); .doc and .docx (Microsoft Word); .htm and .html (web pages); .key (Keynote); .numbers (Numbers); .pages (Pages); .pdf (Preview and Adobe Acrobat); .ppt and .pptx (Microsoft PowerPoint); .txt (text); .rtf (rich text format); .vcf (contact information); .xls and .xlsx (Microsoft Excel)
  • Language support for English, French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Russian
  • Keyboard support for English (US) English (UK), French (France, Canada), German, Japanese (QWERTY), Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, Italian, Simplified Chinese (Handwriting and Pinyin), Russian
  • Dictionary support for English (US), English (UK), French, French (Canadian), French (Swiss), German, Japanese, Dutch, Flemish, Spanish, Italian, Simplified Chinese (Handwriting, Pinyin), Russian
  • Accessibility: Support for playback of closed-captioned content, VoiceOver screen reader, Full-screen zoom magnification, White on black, Mono audio
  • Built-in 25Whr rechargeable lithium-polymer battery (rated at 10 hours using Wi-Fi)
  • Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system
  • 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack
  • Built-in speakers
  • Microphone
  • SIM card tray (Wi-Fi + 3G model only)
  • PC or Mac support

Photos: James Martin/CNET

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