Has Apple really changed the world again?

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

It's called the iPad. It looks like a large iPhone, with just a single button on the front. It has a 9.7in screen and weighs in at 1.5lb pounds. And it will cost you around £350 for the cheapest model.

Don't pretend you didn't want to know.

Apple, inventor of the Macintosh computer and the iPod, launched a new computer yesterday and the company's boss, Steve Jobs, claimed it will change the world. Many people agreed. Many more people acted like they agreed. Plenty hope he is right.

After months of hype and rumour-mongering that only seemed to get more intense the more tight-lipped Apple executives became, Jobs stepped on to a San Francisco stage yesterday to declare the opening of a whole new category of electronic device. Halfway between a smartphone and a portable computer, the touchscreen-operated iPad will provide a whole new way to buy books and newspapers, play games, watch films and TV shows and surf the web, he said.

"We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product," he said. "It's so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone."

Apple is confident the iPad will escape the fate of previous attempts at tablet computers – including the company's own Newton device, launched with a fanfare in 1993 – now that so many more applications are available to enrich the device. Like the iPhone before it, the iPad will cause "another gold rush for app developers", Jobs predicted.

And he also yesterday launched the iBookstore, from where users can quickly and easily download electronic books to read on the device. Gallantly, Jobs said he was "standing on the shoulders" of Amazon, which has pioneered the e-reader with its Kindle device, but commentators are already predicting that limited-function e-readers face a dangerous new competitive threat from the iPad. Unlike on the first generation of e-readers, the new device can feature colour photos and video, if authors wish. Certainly publishers lined up to support the Apple debut. Simon & Schuster, Rupert Murdoch's Harper Collins, and Macmillan were among those immediately committing to sell books for the iPad.

The hopes of many media executives are pinned on the iPad, and other similar tablet devices promised by PC manufacturers this year, since they offer an opportunity to replace the declining readership of newspapers and magazines with new subscribers to bespoke applications for the devices, opening up a second chance to charge for digital content that is currently given away for free on websites. The New York Times was among the companies called to the stage to promote a dedicated iPad app yesterday, saying it would offer a more newspaper-like experience than anything that has been created for a smartphone.

Versions of the new device have 16GB, 3GB and 64GB of memory, with or without 3G wireless service on top of the standard wi-fi internet connectivity. Prices will range from $499 to $829 in the US, and the first versions will go on sale in 60 days.

A number of questions were not immediately answered by Jobs' presentation, however, including how the device will connect to 3G wireless internet. AT&T, which is Apple's exclusive network carrier for the iPhone in the US, said it would offer price plans for internet service. There was no immediate detail on arrangements in the UK, or on local currency prices for the device outside the US.

And not every observer was drawn into the hype. "Basically all they've said is this is a really big iPod Touch," said James McQuivey of Forrester Research, a market research firm. It has a better screen and so you can design better apps for it, but Apple hasn't solved some of the media use problems that they're in a position to solve."

Rhi Morgan, at T3 magazine, added: "I find it difficult to place this product because I can't see anybody who needs a laptop buying an iPad, and I can't see people using it as a smartphone either."

Tom Dunmore, consulting editor of technology magazine Stuff, said: "When you pick it up and use it you realise how far ahead of its competition it is."

Rhi Morgan at T3 magazine said: "I find it difficult to place this product because I can't see anybody who needs a laptop buying an iPad, and I can't see people using it as a smartphone either."

Neil McHugh, co-founder of www.rightmobilephone.co.uk said: "It is too early to judge the success or uptake of the iPad, but Apple have again shown themselves to be market leaders, leaving other manufacturers a step behind."

Jim Sloane, lead technology partner at Deloitte said: "These devices will contribute to the growing ubiquity of computing in the home, heralding an era in which connected, browser based devices become as ubiquitous in the living room as scatter cushions."

iPad facts

* Half an inch thick, it weighs 1.5lb with a 9.7in touchscreen display. It comes with between 16Gb and 64Gb flash storage and a 1Ghz chip with both Wi Hi and 3G.

* All iPhone applications will run on the iPad. Apple claims the device will run for up to 10 hours on its battery. It will cost between $499 and $699 in America, but it is likely to cost more over here.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

    £24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

    Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam