Apple iPad is Now a Reality

It’s finally official: Apple is releasing their very own tablet computer. The sleek little iPad boasts a 9.7 inch display that is a fully-functional multi-touch screen. It’s only half of an inch thick, and weighs just over a pound. You can purchase one of these with anywhere from 16 GB to 64 GB of storage. The device will support WiFi, and some models will allow 3G connections – via AT&T, of course. There’s a built-in speaker and mic, much like the iPhone has. The battery life is purported to be about ten hours! All of this sounds fantastic on the surface, doesn’t it? However, there are a few very large drawbacks that I have to point out.

  • AT&T – While the pricing for the 3G support on the iPad isn’t bad (no contract, and only $30 a month for unlimited access), why are we once again being forced to turn to AT&T? Apple would have fared much better during today’s unveiling if they had named any other company in this capacity. It’s a well-known fact that AT&T has struggled greatly with the 3G issues on the iPhone. How, then, are they going to handle yet another device?
  • No SD Card slot nor USB ports – I’m not joking. These two highly-demanded – and very important – add-ins are not… well… added in. The iPad doesn’t come with either of them. Don’t worry, though! You can shell out extra money and buy adapters from Apple in order to have these necessary additions. Not a slick move there, Apple.
  • No Flash – iPhone owners have griped long and loud about the lack of Flash support on their devices. As I watched the live event from Apple earlier, I swear I heard a loud groan go up when Steve Jobs clicked onto a screen that showed no Flash support on the iPad, either. People want Flash, Steve! We need to have that capability, and it’s beyond comprehension why you refuse to include support for it.

There are some excellent points and features, as well. The pricing came as a huge surprise to many, myself included. The WiFi version with 16 GB of memory will cost only $499! The 32 GB version will be $599 and the 64 GB model will be $699. If you want the fancy one with 3G capabilities, it will run you $829.00.

Another strong selling point is the fact that almost all existing Apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch will work on the iPad out of the box. Apple also released a new SDK today, so that developers can create one App from here on out that will work across all three devices. That’s great news for developers and App junkies alike!

The iPad comes with a new App called iBook, and will allow you to purchase books in the ePub format from the new iBooks Store, where they have already partnered with five publishers to bring you as many titles as possible. iBook allows you to quickly and easily flip through pages, and it supports pictures, videos and other types of graphics!

The iPad isn’t going to start shipping until sometime in March, apparently. I’d love an opportunity to get my hands on one to test out and review before passing actual judgment on the device. I can clearly see both the drawbacks and the positive points. However, until one actually uses something, it’s all a guessing game.

What are your thoughts on the huge announcement out of the Apple camp today? Are you excited about the iPad, or are you skeptical? Do you plan to purchase one of these as soon as humanly possible, or are you hanging onto your money?