Sunday, September 26, 2010

The iPad

The iPad is a tablet computer designed and developed by Apple capable of web browsing, email, high-definition video playback, photo sharing, music, mapping, personal organization, digital book, magazine, comic, game, edutainment and more.

Announced on January 27, 2010 by Steve Jobs at an Apple press conference, the iPad was released in April 2010, and sold 3 million of the devices in 80 days. The iPad runs the same operating system as the earlier iPod Touch and iPhone, albeit a slightly older version. It can run its own applications as well as ones developed for the iPhone. Without modification, it will only run programs approved by Apple and distributed via its online store.

The iPad is controlled by a multitouch display. The iPad uses Wi-Fi or a 3G mobile data connection to browse the Internet, load and stream media, and install software. The device is managed and synced by iTunes on a personal computer via USB cable or via Wi-Fi.

The iPad's touchscreen display is a 25 cm (9.7 in) liquid crystal IPS technology display (1024 × 768 pixels) with fingerprint-resistant and scratch-resistant glass. The display responds to two other sensors: an ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness and a 3-axis accelerometer to sense iPad orientation and switch between portrait and landscape modes.

The iPad can use Wi-Fi network trilateration from Skyhook Wireless to provide location information to applications such as Google Maps. The iPad has a bult-in 802.11a/b/g/n wireless card. The 3G model contains A-GPS to allow its position to be calculated with GPS or relative to nearby cellphone towers.

The iPad has two internal speakers that push mono sound through two small sealed channels to the three audio ports carved into the bottom-right of the unit. A volume switch is on the right side of the unit. The built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR interface allows wireless headphones and keyboards to be used with the iPad. There is also a tiny hole that hides iPad's built-in microphone.

The iPad uses an internal rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery. The iPad's battery can provide up to 10 hours of video, 140 hours of audio playback, or one month on standby. Like any battery technology, the iPad's LiPo battery loses capacity over time, but is not designed to be user-replaceable.

The iPad was released with three options for internal storage size: a 16, 32, or 64 GB flash drive. All data is stored on the flash drive and there is no option to expand storage. Apple sells a camera connection kit with an SD card reader, but it can only be used to transfer photos and videos.

The processor is a 1 GHz Apple A4 System on a chip. And feature iOS 3.2.2 operating system with iOS 4.2 due in November 2010. It weight only 680 g (1.5 lb).

The iPad comes with free apps and features such as Picture Frame, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Videos, YouTube, Settings, Safari, Mail, Maps, iTunes, App Store, iPod, Photos and more.

In the coming posts I will take an in-depth look at these applications and what is possible or not with the iPad.

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