Apple iPad

The iPad is Apple's attempt at a tablet machine. It sports a 9.7-inch multi-touch screen, a 1GHz Apple A4 processor and offers between 16- to 64-GB of storage

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Apple iPad The iPad features a 9.7-inch touch sensitive LCD screen
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  November 30, 2010

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Key Specs

Audio: Y
Card reader: N
Display adapter: PowerVR SGX 535
Display screen: 9.7-inch
Internal storage: 64GB

Display complete specs ›

Going on the mass of press coverage leading up to the launch of Apple's iPad in the United States and Europe, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the plans for Apple's - at the time latest - device had come into the hands of Steve Jobs through some kind of divine intervention.

Sure, it's shiny, and pretty, and well... shiny. That huge 9.7-inch touch screen, finished with a glossy black border and a silver metallic back is simply gorgeous. It all screams buy me but should you? Well if you're looking at the iPad based on its internal and external hardware, then you're looking at it the wrong way. Don't worry; this is an Apple product, and as you'd (usually) expect, the build quality is top-notch but the real star of the show is the operating system.

iOS - and the applications that run on it - is what makes the iPad so special. Freed from the confines of the iPhone's small screen and bolstered by the 1GHz A4 chip at the heart of the device, iOS really shows what it is capable of. The device deals effortlessly with any swipe, twist and turn you throw at it.

But perhaps the best ways to explain just how good the iPad actually is, is to look at the way it sneaks into your life. You will find yourself in bed with it (probably to the disdain of your wife or husband), you will find yourself taking it with you everywhere you go, and most tellingly, you'll find yourself wiping a thick layer of dust off your computer when you finally do need to use it for something the iPad can't do (which is exceedingly rare).

Sure, there are downsides. The lack of a keyboard means that unless you're willing to stump up money for the physical keyboard dock, it isn't really feasible to type for long periods (unless you particularly like the feeling of repeatedly hitting your fingers against a hard surface). And the need to pay out $30 for a camera and USB kit feel like Apple are deliberately trying to wring as much money out of you as possible.

Then of course there is the infamous Flash issue. This, in truth, isn't as much of a problem as Adobe would have you believe. The biggest downside though is people's misconception about the device. The iPad isn't meant to be the geek's new toy. Believe it or not, the longer you spend with it, the more you realise that isn't what it is about. It's closer to an evolution of the PDA, than a netbook.

It's about quickly browsing the web, checking your e-mail or finding out just where on earth you've seen that guy on the TV before, the one whose name you can't remember, without having to wait five minutes for your laptop to boot. The simple fact is, it's not meant to replace your computer (a point also demonstrated by the fact that you are required to plug your iPad into a computer so you can activate it).

For: Brilliant user interface, lovely LCD screen, great form factor and design, WiFi support.
Against: Quite an expensive gadget, expensive accessories, no Flash support.
Verdict: Is it worth it? Put it this way. If you never bought one, you wouldn’t miss it. But buy it and you’ll soon wonder how you lived without it.

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