Apple, for the last ten years has been taking technology trends and making them successful like only they can. They quickly took the mp3 player market by storm with their iPods and of course, you were not cool unless you owned an iPhone. The idea of tablet pcs has been around since the early 60's and even the idea of an electronic stylus device for capturing handwriting was copyrighted in 1888. Despite the history behind the idea, the technology has never mainstreamed despite our cultures obsession with the next big gadget. This inevitably leads us to the Apple iPad, which was released on April 3 2010. Originally, there were only Wi-Fi enabled models quickly followed by the 3G + Wi-Fi ready on April 30 of that same month. With over 3 million sold in the first couple of months Apple has yet again entered the technology arena ready for a fight.
The iPad initially comes with the same default programs as the iPhone: Safari, Email, the App Store, an iPod mode for listening to songs, as well as a number of media centric apps like YouTube and iTunes. With over 200,000 apps in the App Store there seems to be no end to what you can find. With new apps released daily and the iPads ability to either use existing iPhone and iPod Touch apps this adds plenty of uses from business to pleasure and many in between. The iPad can load iPhone/iPod apps in their native resolution or double the size to fit the newer larger screen size. Simply by syncing your iPad with iTunes, you are able to port over all of your existing apps without any major problems. Some apps do not fully port over to the iPad but designers often release updated "HD" versions of their app exclusively for the iPad itself.
The iPad is reported by Apple to have up to 10 hours of continuous video playback, of course your mileage may vary. The battery itself is a lithium-ion polymer battery, which over time, like any battery, technology loses storage capacity. Along with the 3G and Wi-Fi ready models you also can choose the 16, 32, or 64GB models ranging anywhere from $500 to $829 US. If you are not afraid to spend an extra $100 US, you can get the 3G ready model, which at least in the US will need to be attached to the AT&T network. There are two plans that are offered currently, the lower plan costs $15 and supplies the user with 250MB. This will be sufficient for most considering you always have the choice to fall back on a Wi-Fi network when available. The other plan is slated to cost $25 and offer 2GB, which arguably for the price offers the better bang for the buck. This plan is good for jet setters and anyone that generally likes to get out and about while staying connected to the world.
The iPad and iPhone share similar development environments but currently only the iPhone and iPod Touch are on the newer iOS 4.0. 4.0 is scheduled to come out for the iPad late fourth quarter 2010 and will include such features as multi-tasking for simultaneous app use, folders so you can group your apps by category, and an updated unified email client for ease of use.
With the entry of the iPad in the tablet pc market Apple has brought another unique (although some would call it an over-sized iPod Touch) product featuring a combination of style and user friendliness that never seems to disappoint. It will be interesting to see where the iPad fits into the market a year or two down the road and what plans Apple has to further current hold on the mobile pc market.