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Apple iPad gets official worldwide launch - on the shelves in weeks


It's been one of the most talked-about pieces of non-existent tech ever, but today the Apple iPad is reality - and it looks like it might have been worth the wait, killing off the humble netbook, not to mention the Amazon Kindle, almost instantly.

This super-slim device has both Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity plus a 9.7-inch capacitive touchscreen IPS LCD display (which you can use horizontally or vertically), with power from a custom 1GHz Apple 'A4' chip and a battery that offers up to 10 hours use per charge. In terms of storage, you'll get a choice of 16, 32 and 64GB models. That's the facts out of the way, now the fun bit.


The whole thing is like an oversized iPhone, with the pitch being that if you can use one of those, you'll have no problem with this. iTunes runs the thing, with content synced to your PC or Mac. iPhone apps run on it, as do custom iPad apps, which should be coming thick and fast.

In terms of what it can do, well it can play videos and music, as well as giving you access to TV and YouTube on the go. But that's only to be expected. With the newly-launched iBooks, you can also download just about any of the leading book titles for viewing on the screen, as well as accessing your morning paper and favourite magazines, laid out just like your paper read, but with some neat added extras like embedded video and colour for example. Gaming is catered for of course, along with the option to check and answer email (using the large on-screen QWERTY keyboard), browse the web and browse your photos and calendar. If that's not enough, there's even some cool add-ons including a very tasty keyboard dock for desk-based working or browsing.

Downsides? Well, Flash isn't here and there's no word on it multitasking, so it's not exactly going to be replacing your notebook anytime soon. Cost could be an issue too. In the US, the device is priced from $499, rising to $829 for the 64GB model with Wi-Fi and 3G. Factor in $29.99 for your data each month and it's not exactly cheap if you're already running an iPhone.

For us UK customers, we're also not going to see the full range until at least June/July 2010, although the Wi-Fi-only model should be available in weeks for an as-yet undisclosed price. Despite all that, the iPad is certainly a game changer, possibly killing off the Kindle overnight and giving the humble netbook a bloody nose. We'll see you in the queue.

Apple website

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