The iPad is a tablet computer developed by Apple Inc. Announced on January 27, 2010, it is similar in functionality to the iPhone and iPod touch, running the same operating system (iPhone OS) and almost all of the same applications.
The iPad has a larger 9.7-inch (25 cm) LED backlit multi-touch display with a pixel resolution of 1024x768, 16 to 64 gigabytes (GB) of flash memory, a 1-gigahertz (GHz) Apple A4 processor, Bluetooth 2.1, and a 30-pin dock connector to sync with iTunes and connect wired accessories.
Two models have been announced: one with 802.11n Wi-Fi (available in March 2010 worldwide) and one with Wi-Fi, 3G (which can connect to HSDPA cellular networks), and Assisted GPS (available in April in the U.S. and several other countries). Both models may be purchased with three different memory capacities.
As Apple's first device to use its iBookstore service and companion iBooks ebook reading application, the iPad has been compared to Amazon's Kindle.
Apple's development of a tablet computer began with the Newton MessagePad 100, first introduced in 1993. This effort led to the creation of the ARM6 processor core with Acorn Computers. Apple also developed a prototype PowerBook Duo-based tablet computer, the PenLite, but did not sell it to avoid hurting MessagePad sales. Apple released several more Newton-based PDAs, and discontinued the last in the line, the MessagePad 2100, in 1998.
By late 2009, the iPad's release had been rumored for several months with iSlate and iTablet among speculated names. The product was announced on January 27, 2010, at an Apple press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Three days later, at the 52nd Grammy Awards, Stephen Colbert used an iPad in announcing the nominees.
The iPad is to go on sale at the end of March 2010 (Wi-Fi version, worldwide) and end of April (Wi-Fi + 3G version, in the United States and some other countries). International 3G prices are to be announced summer 2010.The Wi-Fi + 3G iPad will be unlocked so it can be used on other mobile carriers that support GSM micro-SIMs. 3G will be provided in the U.S. by AT&T and sold with two prepaid contract-free data plan options: one for unlimited data and the other for 250 MB/month at half the price. The plans will be activated on the iPad itself and can be canceled at any time.
Input and output
The iPad has a fairly minimalist selection of external ports and it only has a dock connector for general input and output and a 3.5mm headphone jack for plugging in headphones to listen to audio. It also has a speaker and a microphone.
To control the iPad and the software it runs you mostly use the multi-touch touchscreen display. The iPad also has external buttons for sleep, mute and controlling the volume as well as a button to return to the home screen. It also has an Accelerometer (for motion sensitivity) and a digital magnetic compass.
Like the iPhone, with which it shares a development environment, the iPad will only run software downloaded from Apple's App Store. The iPad will run almost all third-party iPhone applications unmodified (they can be displayed at iPhone size or enlarged to fill the iPad's larger screen); developers can also create apps specifically for the iPad's features.
The iPad will come with the following applications: Safari, Mail, Photos, Video, YouTube, iTunes Store, App Store, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, and Spotlight. The iPad syncs with iTunes on a Mac or Windows PC. Apple ported its iWork suite from the Mac to the iPad; the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote applications will be sold in the App Store. Although the iPad is not designed as a cellphone replacement, a user can pair it with a Bluetooth headset and place phone calls using a VoIP application over WiFi or 3G.