Editor’s note: Tech with Tom Kirkham is intended to provide practical information about a wide range of electronic products, software and communication issues. Tom has promised to use layman terms, where possible, and to avoid geeky acronyms unless using said acronyms are the build up to an off-color joke built largely around sophomoric innuendo. Seriously, this should be good stuff and it will post on the second and fourth Friday of each month (barring any breaking news from Steve Jobs or elsewhere in the Tech world). Enjoy.
It’s official. Apple CEO Steve Jobs spent more than 90 minutes today (Jan. 27) announcing the company’s new product – the iPad.
Imagine a large iPod Touch or iPhone, with a 9.7-inch screen, overall size about the dimensions of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper at half an inch thick. Imagine a Kindle DX, but way cooler. Still with me? Good. Let me tell you — this thing is a game changer.
As Jobs was presenting the iPad, it seemed as if it was merely a larger iPhone. All of the 140,000+ apps in the App Store will work out-of-the-box, in either a “letterbox” mode, or a special 2X mode that doubles the pixel to make the apps full screen. Newer apps will be designed specifically for the new screen.
Apple spent a year getting their office suite, iWork to work on the iPad. Imagine doing word processing, calculating spreadsheets, and even building and presenting (the iPad will hook up to a projector) slide presentations using nothing more than the iPad. The on-screen keyboard changes dynamically to present the exact keyboard you need whether for spreadsheets, word processing or presentation building. Oh, in case that is not good enough, there will be an external keyboard as well, with a type of a docking station as well.
Really great gaming graphics and an exciting MLB.com application was demoed as well. Gaming is an important platform for the iPad, and it rivals dedicated handheld gaming platforms, perhaps even surpassing them in graphics.
In partnership with Amazon, Updated: (Listening to a scratchy audio during the presentation, I mistook Jobs "standing on the shoulders of" the Amazon Kindle comment to mean a partnership was made with Amazon. This is not true. Thanks for the clarification.)
Apple announced iBooks. The iPad is optimized for reading books, magazines and news, and iTunes will add categories to iTunes specifically for these types of media.
eBooks don’t excite you? Imagine reading a book with embedded videos. Apple has already signed up with the five largest publishers, and more are lined up.
Jobs then covered the differing models: WiFi and WiFi with 3G, each available in 16, 32, or 64GB versions.
The bombshells then began dropping: How about data plans for 3G models starting at $14.99 a month? $29.99 a month for unlimited data? No contract, and no visit to the AT&T store to activate the service (if you are a current AT&T subscriber – maybe iPhone user).
How much would you pay for this device? I’m thinking easy $1,000. Jobs had $999 on the screen behind him, then in Billy Mays fashion, shattered the price to $499. $499!!!! Are you kidding me?! This is incredible.
Even the most expensive model, 64GB and 3G will top out at $829. This is a game changer. A netbook killer. Kindle, we hardly knew ya.
Get your plastic out, you will
want need one of these.
Notes on Tom
Tom Kirkham is the publisher and co-owner of The City Wire. Tom also is host of the Tom Kirkham Show on Newstalk KWHN 1320 AM, which airs each Saturday from noon to 1 p.m. He also owns and operates Kirkham Systems, a computer, communication and networking company. Tom has more than 20 years of experience in business and technology, and claims to be a photographer, jazz lover, Cajun food expert and dog rancher.
You can reach Tom at [email protected]