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After the hype, Apple’s iPad hits the shelves

Video by Kathryn STAPLEY

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-04-03

No one does hype quite like Apple. And after the runaway success of the iPod, the iPhone and the iTunes music store, the iPad is set to dominate reviews when it goes on sale (in the US) on Saturday.

US media outlets are salivating ahead of Saturday’s market launch of Apple’s massively hyped iPad tablet computer.

The device, which will go on sale in Europe at the end of April, has enjoyed vast publicity and looks set to dominate the future market for hand-held computers.

When Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in January, he called it “our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.”
 
The iPad is essentially a beefed-up version of Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone devices, which have both been standard bearers of the digital music and mobile phone markets.
 
The 9.7-inch touch-screen enables users to watch videos, listen to music, play games, surf the Internet and read e-books.
 
Its e-book reader connects to iTunes — the online music store many credit for having completely changed the way we buy music — to purchase books, newspapers and magazines.
 
The iPad costs between 499 and 829 dollars in the US depending on features and memory, with the upper-end models having both wireless Internet access (also on the cheaper ones) and access to 3G mobile phone networks. Prices elsewhere have yet to be announced.
 
Thousands of applications
 
The iPad can run more than 150,000 applications that were made for the iPod Touch and iPhone, while many more are being developed and upgraded specifically for the new device.
 
Indeed, it was the launch of the Apps store, and the contribution of thousands of independent application developers that made iPhone sales skyrocket. Up until then, many had believed the iPhone would be short-lived. Analysts are now more confident, with thousands of “apps” ready to perform virtually any electronic task imaginable.
 
“iPad suppliers currently forecast eight to 10 million shipments in the calendar year 2010, up from prior expectations of five-plus million,” Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said in a research note.
 
And on the stock markets, the day before its market launch, Apple Inc edged up 0.4% to hit a fresh lifetime closing high of $235.97.
 
Love it or hate it
 
Those few US reviewers who have actually got their hands on this new piece of kit have been overwhelmingly upbeat about its potential.
 
“This beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly,” writes Walt Mossberg, one of the US’s most respected technology writers, in the Wall Street Journal. “It could be a game changer the way Apple’s iPhone has been.”

But, the iPad is not the panacea to the supposed ills of modern computing; it can’t do everything that a traditional computer can do.
 
Among other things, it can’t multitask, it does not support Flash (yet) and it doesn’t have an in-built camera for video messaging.
 
For basic Web-surfing, emailing and social networking, the iPad delivers well, says the Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg.
 
But, he warns: “If you need to create or edit giant spreadsheets or long documents, or you have to elaborate systems for organising email, or need to perform video chats, the iPad isn’t going to cut it as your go-to device.”
 
David Pogue of the New York Times, who wrote a review for techies and one for "everybody else," highlighted the iPad’s shortcomings against traditional laptops.
 
Apple’s device, he says in both reviews, is “basically a gigantic iPod Touch”. “Techies”, he believes, will hate it.
 
“The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money — with a full keyboard, DVD drive, USB jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works,” he writes. “Besides: If you’ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, who’s going to carry around a third machine?”

 

Date created : 2010-04-02

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