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Business

It’s here! The iPad hits stores across the US

Video by Mark Thompson , Vincent FERTEY , Manon RIVIERE

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-04-04

After a characteristically hyped pre-market launch period, Apple’s iPad has hit the shelves across the US, to the relief of the thousands of fans lined up outside Apple stores. But not all analysts believe the iPad will mark the end of the laptop.

The iPad, Apple’s latest much-awaited, must-have gadget, went on sale at Apple stores across the US Saturday, capping days of frenzied media and industry speculation in the lead-up to the market launch.

The 1.5 pounds, 9.7-inch screen tablet computer is essentially a beefed-up version of Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone devices, which have been standard bearers of the multitouch user interface. Industry reviewers have speculated that with the iPad, the California-based company could lead the way in edging out the mouse-driven interface system that has dominated the Internet age.

IPad sales commenced at 9am Eastern Time (1300 GMT) Saturday across the US, easing the lines of eager consumers who had queued at Apple stores hours ahead, braving the pre-dawn chill in many US cities.

Standing in the line outside Apple’s flagship New York store on Fifth Avenue, FRANCE 24’s Charles Lesoil said fans from as far as Belgium and Israel had flown into New York to get their hands on the new device.

Some of the more prepared consumers had arrived with portable seats and breakfast, much to the envy of the others, said Lesoil.

Most of the people in the queue had already made online pre-orders. Market analysts have forecast eight to 10 million shipments of the iPad in 2010. 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.

Priced at between $500 and $800 in the US – depending on features and memory – the devices will go on sale in Europe at the end of April. Prices outside the US are yet to be announced.


Good for gaming, not good for multitasking

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.

Early reviews have praised the speed, the look and long battery life of the new device. But reviewers have noted that 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.

The device, most analysts agree, works well for users interested in social networking, gaming and Web-surfing. But for computer users who need to work on spreadsheets or long-format documents, the iPad has been found wanting.

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 : 2010-04-03

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