Live coverage of Apple Tablet event: Hello, iPad

Tired of the rumors? Want facts? Join us here on Wednesday, January 27 to find out about Apple's "latest creation". In the mean time, just for fun I've created a few polls for you. Record your answer now and then come back on the 27th to see how you scored.
Written by Ed Burnette, Contributor

It's "T-Day" for Apple as the company is set to announce the long awaited Apple Tablet. I blogged about the event as it happened, and now that it's all over I've re-arranged the comments a bit for easier reading. Enjoy!

[ See also: $499 gets you a powerful tablet for browsing, books, and apps ]

7:57am (Pacific time): The media mob is already assembling at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. If you're like me and you can't be there in person, I'll try to make you feel like you are. The temperature is a little nippy, 50 degrees, so bundle up, folks.

8:02am: It's not too late to try your luck at the Apple Tablet polls. Scroll down to the very end of this post to see them. Polls close at 10am Pacific time.

8:11am: Interesting article at The Gawker about all the Apple Tablet anticipation. They call speculating about the tablet "one of the great modern pastimes".

8:22am: Crowdsource prediction from the polls below: iSlate, available in March, for Book reading, $700-799, programmed in Objective C. My predictions: iPad, in June, for Games, $900-999, in Objective C.

8:26am: Apple Tablet, #Apple, iSlate, and iTablet are all trending on Twitter. No surprise there, but the one I can't explain is "Frantic Steve Jobs".

8:29am: Comments are open! Add your voice to the Trackback area below. We did away with that nasty registration form, so jump in.

8:33am: Is this the outside of the Apple Tablet? Looks pretty bland but plausible.

8:38am: Quite a mix of people in the crowd. Young and old, sweatpants and power suits, not to mention "black clad Apple security types" guarding the entrances. Not many women. Maybe they're smart enough to avoid standing out in the cold for 3 hours.

8:43am: Lots of iPhone developers in the crowd. Everybody is wondering how compatible the tablet will be with the iPhone/iPod touch. Will it start with zero apps or 100,000?

8:50am: Apple shares down $3.38 this morning to $202.56. Is this a case of Buy on the rumor, sell on the news?

9:05am: Wireless networking is becoming a problem. WiFi is prohibited in the center, and 3G is iffy. Ars writes "We use Sprint [on EVDO] actually, at any big event, AT&T dies because there are 1000's of iPhones around". Even people with wireless mice are having a hard time.

9:07am: If the Apple Tablet allows background processing, and is available on carriers other than AT&T (or no carrier at all), I wonder what that will do to the momentum behind Android? Comments welcome.

9:20am: Some people are getting inside the building now (the glass part), others are still standing in the long registration line.

9:22am: Overheard on gizmodo: "I hope Apple announces a tablet that’s really just 6 iPod touches glued together, bezels and all."

9:28am: Doors are about to open; mood is jovial but some crowding.

9:36am: No, there is no live video feed available. That's what you have us for! You know, everybody disses Apple for this but I think it just builds on the whole anticipation/insider/secret knowledge thing they have going. Is that why Google events are so boring in comparison? Yeah, that's it.

9:38am: Another good one: "I hope Apple announces a tablet that makes us all understand why we inexplicably crave a tablet." Only 20 minutes left before the polls close!

9:42am: Doors are open and the crowd streams in. Looks like Steve Jobs will be in attendance after all. How can we tell? Because Dylan is playing.

9:45am: What kind of company would Apple be without Steve Jobs? He certainly makes it more fun.

9:46am: This just in: Leaked pictures of the Tablet! Er, not really, but funny.

9:48am: Everybody is commenting on the chair on stage. Is Steve J not feeling up to standing? Please God don't let this turn into Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve.

9:56am: People are taking their seats (in the audience I mean). Al Gore is here. How come he gets all the good invites?

9:59am: Looks like TechCrunch has crashed under the load. Or maybe the server died in shame over what CrunchPad could have been.

10:01am: Steve is out on stage! Big applause. Big grin on his face. "We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary new product". But first, a few updates.

10:08am: (AppleInsider feed falls by the wayside too... zdnet.com and cnet.com showing strain but still up. No update from Ars in like 20 minutes).

10:08am: 250M iPods sold, 140K apps in the App Store, 3 billion apps downloaded.

10:09am: Jobs: Is there room for something in the middle of a laptop and a smartphone? Not the netbook - too slow, low quality display, and PC software. [snicker] It should be better at things like browsing the web. Email. Photos. Videos. Music. Games. eBooks.

10:11am: Jobs holds up the tablet... and the crowd goes wild. It looks just like a big iPhone.

10:14am: It's called the iPad. Desktop is customizable, looks like a cross between Mac OS X (dock at bottom)and iPhone OS (icons, strip at top). Steve is emphasizing the web browsing right now.

10:14am: Display is not wide screen - looks closer to 4:3. "Much more intimate" than a laptop. Ah, now I see what the chair is for, that intimate, fire-side chat feeling. Steve runs through the demos.

10:18am: On-screen keyboard is *huge*. Looks like full size.

10:20am: Apps are not just scaled up versions of iPhone apps. For example the Calendar is 2 pages wide. Mail shows iPhone-like summary on left, reading pane on right.

10:23am: Interestingly, the demo unit is connected via WiFi. There is no 3G/phone icon visible anywhere.

10:23am: iTunes runs natively on the iPad. Album covers and all. No need to have a computer to sync up with it.

10:25am: Now showing Google Maps with Street View. Graphics are super smooth. I wonder if this has one of those dual-core ARMs? Or is it Intel Atom? Or Snapdragon? It has to be something pretty darned fast.

10:28am: Here come the specs. 0.5" thick, 1.5 lbs.

10:30am: Custom 1GHz Apple A4 chip.

10:35am: 16-64GB Flash storage. Full capacitive multi-touch. WiFi 802.11n.

10:40am: Existing iPhone apps will run unmodified. They can run in 1x mode, unscaled, in the middle of the screen, or in 2x (full screen mode). The iPhone SDK has been enhanced to support the iPad. Using the new APIs you can write an app that works on *both* devices, and takes advantage of the bigger screen on the iPad if the user has that.

10:42am: Demo of Nova, a first person shooter. Looks nice. Ships "later this year".

10:45am: Newspaper reading demonstrated with the New York Times. Multiple columns, inline video.

10:46am: Now showing the Brushes demo. Painting on the screen. Like the iPhone app only bigger.

10:48am: Next up: EA games. Given 3 weeks with the device to make a demo. Need for Speed Shift - touch and accelerator enabled. Touch mirror to see behind you. (Sorry for zdnet/cnet slowdown folks, server is getting hammered!)

10:50am: No word on multi-tasking or camera yet, looks doubtful.

10:53am: MLB.com app looks awesome. Live-game experience, navigate through games, pitch-tracker, trajectory of each pitch from the player's perspective. And oh yeah, real video from the game if you want that.

10:55am: New app: iBook Store. Browse, buy, and read books online. All 5 major publishers (Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, MacMillan and Hachette) are on board. "Stands on the shoulders" of Kindle and goes a bit further. Bookstore opens this afternoon.

10:59am: iBook store uses the standard EPUB format (unlike the Kindle). You can change the font, size, etc..

11:00am: Also new: iWork on the iPad. New Keynote presentations designed specifically for the iPad. New version of Pages (word processor) and Numbers (spreadsheet). [I wonder if it can video out to a projector?]

11:11am: Keyboard changes based on the application. For example there are custom keyboards in the spreadsheet application for entering formulae.

11:12am: iWork apps are $9.99 each (not bundled together).

11:13am: Steve's back. The iPad supports USB synching, but also there are models with built-in 3G. There are 2 plans. $14.99 for 250MB/mo, or $29.99 for unlimited data. Wow.

11:15am: 3G is provided by AT&T in the US. International available in June. There is no contract - cancel any time.

11:16am: All models are unlocked and use GSM micro-SIMS.

11:19am: Price: $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB. If you want 3G that's $130 extra. Shipping in 60 days worldwide.

11:22am: Accessories include a nice case, and a dock with a built-in keyboard.

11:30am: Cue video espousing how great the iPad is.

11:34am: "This is a magical device at a breakthrough price". That's it folks, thanks for joining us.

Just for fun I've created a few polls in the days running up to the event. The polls are closed now, but check it out and see how well you scored.

[poll id="22"]

[poll id="23"]

[poll id="24"]

[poll id="25"]

[poll id="26"]


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