It walks and talks like an iPod touch — only it has a much larger screen, which will entice you to do more with it.
At least that seems to be the hopes of Apple and Steve Jobs, who announced the much-anticipated iPad Tablet today in San Francisco.
The iPad, which features a capacitive 9.7-inch touchscreen, will be available in prices ranging from $499 to $829 depending on storage size and Wi-Fi/3G wireless networking capability.
The 16-, 32- and 64-GB models with built in Wi-Fi will be $499, $599 and $699, respectively, while 3G of the same sizes are $629, $729 and $829 (not including data plans).
Look for Wi-Fi models to start shipping in 60 days and 3G models in 90 days, according to CNET.
The iPad appears to have all the functionality of an iPod touch, with the same slick navigation, access to open-architecture applications, touch keypad and more. Only the iPad has a 9.7-inch screen, which obviously makes activities like web browsing and e-reading much more palatable.
Jobs wondered if there was room for “a third device” in people’s homes and hands.
“In order to create a new category of devices, they have to be really good at doing some important things. That includes web browsing, e-mail, photos, watching video, listening to music, playing games, and reading e-books. Some people have thought that’s a Netbook, The problem is Netbooks aren’t better at anything. They’re just cheap laptops. We think we have something better.”
Activities demonstrated throughout the announcement included high-resolution video from YouTube and MLB.com, a Facebook app, Internet browsing, e-reading from The New York Times and a virtual bookshelf, gaming applications and more. Familiar iPod touch functionality like swipe scrolling and portrait/landscape were also shown.
Because of the larger screen — and for Jobs we certainly won’t call it a netbook — the iPad does more to mimic Mac-like functionality than an iPod touch. Applications such as iTunes and iPhoto interface like they would on your iMac or PowerBook, and you can download and watch movies and TV shows similarly.
But, of course, the rub is that this device is sleeker and slicker. It’s only 0.5-inch thin and weighs 1.5 pounds.
We’ve seen cool color touchpanels from Crestron, AMX, Control4, and Savant, to name a few of the big home control companies that act as mini-hubs. As a tabletop and portable controller (and we know control apps abound for iPod touch to use with your home systems and as a remote control), this could be a more mainstream entry to easily commanding your home’s A/V and other systems.
Apple must be thinking the same thing.
Here are some more images, credit to CNET:
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.