iPad unveiled, EA and Gameloft lead gaming charge

[UPDATE] Wi-Fi-only version of Apple's tablet computer ships in 60 days, 3G-enabled version in 90; prices range from $499-$829; all existing App Store games supported, can be blown up to fit 9.7-inch touch screen; control scheme similar to iPhone's.

After weeks of increasing hype, cash-flush hardware giant Apple Inc. finally took the wraps off of its wildly anticipated tablet computer at a San Francisco press event. As rumored, the device will be called the iPad, and it will resemble a large iPhone or iPod Touch. It will have a half-inch thick, 9.7-inch multi-touch screen and will weigh just 1.5 pounds.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the iPad. Photo: CNET.

According to GameSpot sibling site CNET, the iPad's heart is an all-new 1GHz processor that places the CPU, graphics, and memory all on a single chip. The device has Bluetooth and a compass built in, and its battery life is around 10 hours--with over a month of standby. It will not, however, include a camera as MacBooks and iPhones do, nor will it support Adobe Flash, the ubiquitous browser software used by Web sites for animation.

The iPad will use the 802.11n wireless standard and will have several models with 3G mobile-network data connectivity. AT&T will offer two prepaid monthly plans--$15 for 250MB of data and $30 for unlimited data--with no contractual obligation. However, unlike the iPhone, the iPad will be unlocked, allowing users to use micro-SIM cards from other providers.

The non-3G, Wi-Fi-only iPad will "begin shipping" in 60 days (March 28) with three models: $499 with 16GB of flash memory, $599 with 32GB, and $699 for 64GB. In 90 days (April 27), the 3G models will go on sale for $629 (16GB), $729 (32GB), and $829 (64GB). Apple will also sell a dock to display the tablet like a standard monitor and allow a keyboard to be attached to it.

iPad's user interface resembles that of Apple's wildly popular iPhone--and its display rotates vertically or horizontally, courtesy of an accelerometer. Data entry is done courtesy of a pop-up keyboard that occupies half the screen, like on an iPhone. It will allow Web browsing and will have some elements of Apple's popular MacBook line of laptops, including a version of iPhoto.

The iPad will have a super-sized version of the iPhone's Web-browsing capability.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs bragged that the iPad will have a "built-in iPod" and demonstrated its modified form of iTunes, which will offer the same robust multimedia playback. It will let users buy music, TV shows, and movies as they would via an iPhone or iPod Touch. He then showed off its HD video capabilities with clips of last year's Star Trek reboot and Up, the animated feature film from Pixar, the studio that Jobs owned before Disney bought it in 2006.

Gamers wondering if their library of iPod titles will work on the iPad can rest assured. Senior vice president of iPhone software Scott Forstall took the stage to announce that all App Store programs--including games--can run on the iPad unmodified. iPhone apps' pixels can be doubled to fit the iPad screen with the touch of a button, and new apps can be designed with the iPad screen in mind. A software developer kit for the device is available as of today.

EA's Travis Boatman shows off Need for Speed: Shift optimized for the iPad. Photo: CNET.

While Forstall demonstrated several games, he also brought Gameloft senior business development manager Mark Hickey onstage to show off a first-person shooter designed specifically for the iPad. Its control scheme was similar to that of existing iPhone shooters such as Doom Resurrection, relying on the touch screen and accelerometer for movement and targeting. According to tech blog Engadget, Gameloft's title is called Nova (not to be confused with the existing iPhone game Nova Run), and it will be available later this year.

After Hickey took his leave, Electronic Arts' vice president of worldwide studios, Travis Boatman, took the stage to show off an iPad version of Need for Speed: Shift. He claimed that converting it from the iPhone to the iPad took "a very short amount of time," indicating that iPad versions of EA iPhone games could be incoming en masse. A Wall Street Journal report from last week said that EA was partnering with Apple to promote gaming on the then-unnamed iPad.

Asphalt on the iPad up-close.

In addition to unveiling the iPad and its gaming initiatives, Jobs showed off iBooks, the tablet's format for electronic books. The service will let users buy books almost exactly as they would songs or videos from iTunes and adjust fonts and font sizes on the fly. The service already has the support of the five major publishing houses: Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster. Jobs also said that the service would be offering textbooks at a later date.

Finally, Jobs reflected on how far Apple has come since its founding in 1976. After flashing a black-and-white photo of a comparatively cherubic younger self along with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, Jobs touted the company's $15.6 billion in first-quarter revenues. In fact, by revenues, Apple is now the "largest mobile devices company in the world," said Jobs. He defined mobile devices as iPods, iPhones, MacBooks--and now, the iPad.

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Discussion

354 comments
jogunther
jogunther

Kinda of boring, definitely not something to get too excited about. I'm real curious about all the concepts Sony is patenting. I think they can make a better gaming system if they just take their game expertise added what apples iPad does well. Easy to see whats wrong in hindsight

js0823
js0823

I hoped for a sleek looking apple computer or at least something close to it, not a bigger version of ipod.

Khatjal
Khatjal

A rare miss for Apple. A bigger, more expensive Iphone that you cant put in your pocket and can't even use to call people? Time to fire Jobs.

Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

W00t! games on ipad? good luck with that sheet!

ffviiifreak
ffviiifreak

yeah a larger ipod touch I still don't care

TheMayor88
TheMayor88

Another piece of skit apple product that will have various models in the years to come that people will buy simply because it is apple. no thanks, my laptop does the job just fine and it was cheaper than this....thing

win64
win64

so it's nothing new just a big iphone I have an i phone but for that price you could get somthing better i think i'll wait

jedikevin2
jedikevin2

@jimbobb23 You might as well go get something like a HP mini 1000 and hackintosh it (if you want the mac OS) and do all those things for cheaper.

jimbobb23
jimbobb23

Cannot wait to buy this and load it with PDFs. Oh, and maybe my kids will use it for games on long trips. And movies. Would have liked a microphone though, but otherwise pretty awesome. And much cheaper than expected - which is a nice plus.

big-boss-91
big-boss-91

@CreatureRising its more portable than a laptop if you think it this way :D

big-boss-91
big-boss-91

i like it, but i will buy the 0.2 or 0.3 version, the first Ipod was ****, the first iphone was ****, the first Itouch was ****, the second or third generation are a massive improvement smoothing out all the problems the previous models had like battery lifespan, 10 hours is still not long

renofury
renofury

i like this device because is more compact then other tablet pcs, still im more intrested to use word and excel in it then watch movies and photos

zaiwen
zaiwen

whata ginormous **** uhh i mean ipad

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

@ bigcr47 i think we all have to buy our clothes with extra massive pockets to fit this ifad in.

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

this ifad for gaming? what a load of bs, most games on the itouch are nothing more than some gimmick mini demos. plus its not high resolution or wide screen and no usb port for controller... what the??

RhythmMan
RhythmMan

Looks like one of those over-sized calculators that old people use because they have impared eye sight. LOL With all the features it's lacking, they should name it the "iCan't"

r_win
r_win

@Raventhorn: trying to tell me that the music, graphical and marketing industry is NOT big business sounds a little, I don't know, biased, not? And my point about schools: that's exactly what I said: INSIDE the schools they use windows based computers as this technology just is, justifiably, cheaper than Macs. But my own experience, as a consultant to teachers is that most of the teachers prefer and use Macs at home. Like I said in my original post. I had no intention of starting somekind of 'grown-up' fan boy discussion here. Adult or no adult, once you start behaving like a fanboy the discussion is over and it becomes a game of denial. Have fun debunking everything I've said here. I look forward to pushing my remarks towards the edge of marginallity. YOU are absolutely right. :)

firehawk998
firehawk998

So let me get this straight they are gonna release a over sized Iphone that has no multitaking capabilites, no USB ports, no Flash support which many websites will be useless, no large HDD and finally this thing wont even fit inside your pocket. Who is Apple releasing this device for anyway ? People who are really stupid plus thing costs $499 for the basic ipad!!!!!!!!!!!

CreatureRising
CreatureRising

iPad, so, apples making a device that will not even fit in our pants. Yet, its suppose to be portable. = :(

RedSoxfan67
RedSoxfan67

The over saturation of touch screen products in the market continues.

Lugia_120
Lugia_120

Sorry apple,but the iPhone is enough... I'm not saying it's an epic fail,because from apple we can expect anything.

DamnedApples
DamnedApples

I saw the picture first picture with Jobs and the giant iTouch and went, WOW! And then I saw the last picture and went, "Giants use iPods, yeah! Then I read the headline and died a little inside.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Anyone notice that 3G functionality (apparently) costs $130 more?!? Plus you have to pay the monthly service fee to a carrier. I'm sure we'll see these things flying off shelves and into college dorms... for a little while. But my guess is that this device will not be very popular. It's not as good as a netbook and it's only slightly better than the iphone, but it lacks many of the features that make each of those attractive to their respective audiences. I guess I don't understand who the target audience is for this thing. _

califone
califone

This thing is garbage. For the size, I want something that competes with tablet PCs and notebooks, not Apple's own iPod Touch.

bigcr47
bigcr47

Oh man! Apple is so ahead of the curve with their amazing tablet PC! Featuring no keyboard or flash support and missing the camera so I don't have to worry about chatting on video chat or watching my favorite tv shows online anywhere I go, and I'd love to pay 350$ more than my tablet pc with 250 gig hdd and a better processor. Now I have to decide if I want to purchase music from this or my iPhone anytime I want! thank god it lacks support and technology that is so incredibly cheap and easy to implement that it's comical to think that anyone would integrate it into a mobile device. Thanks for once again Innocating the market with your affordable genius tech!!!/sarcasm

Gmodman123
Gmodman123

oh yeah and the exclusive trailer for ruse

Gmodman123
Gmodman123

Imagine playing a Total War game designed specifically for this. Touch your unit and send it off with a few other taps. That would feel so cool. Makes me think of the General in that promo for EndWar.

Gordaac
Gordaac

No Flash support? What the f*cks the point in this piece eh?

Jonesy914
Jonesy914

It depresses me that there will be some people who will buy this solely because it's an apple product.

Marky360
Marky360

@ogara0c9 Glad u like the comment but im telling the truth this is just the beginning. Next thing u know we'll have irobots runing around trying to kill us in an effort to some how protect us

UnknownForm
UnknownForm

For crying out loud why can't Apple include physical joysticks instead of virtual joysticks, if there are millions of game apps!

kidshining
kidshining

LOL, i thought it was the new iTouch dinner plate. now all we need is the iTouch folk and spoon. (-_-).....

InsertWittyID
InsertWittyID

@brendanhunt1 If so, then its an awfully expensive "extra". You're paying the price of a decent laptop and all you're getting is a giant iPhone.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

yawn. something to miss out. Can't see it's place in the market at all :(

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

alot of negativity. i personally dont see this as a replacment for a computer. i see it more of an extra.

madSomnambulist
madSomnambulist

vadorsoul's summary should be taken to heart. Cut out all the PR cruft and we indeed have a large iPod touch. In fairness, it's an iPod touch with 3G connectivity, twice the dimensions, a ~50% faster processor over current models and HD video compatibility. Unfortunately, it has the same touch controls on a display larger than the human hand, same OS, and just stretches pixels 4-to-1 in apps. Eew. With a dedicated OS, purpose-built apps and a few hundred dollars chopped off? Then we'll talk. Simplify the pricing to be $200 more than an iPod touch of equal capacity (same as $100 more than an iPhone of same)? If this were last year before the full book-size and internet-enabled Kindle it would stick out far more.

ZookGuy
ZookGuy

I like Macs, and I think this is stupid.

vadorsoul
vadorsoul

To those just tuning in, this is what has ben said over and over and over agian on this post: Its over-priced and apple is greedy. Its a giant Ipod touch. It sounds like a "hygien" product. It does not have flash.

oneligas
oneligas

looks like the iPhenomenon is at it's iEnd (thank God) the iPad is the first nail that will pushed into the coffin, all Apple is asking is $500+ so you can use the same apps as on the iPhone and read books and newspapers at a charged fee which makes apple look like fools because buying a newspaper or a paperback book is like $2.00 for a sunday paper and $8.00 a book or spend $500+ and then $??? for books and such, just plain crazy.

RhythmMan
RhythmMan

There's only one thing that matters to the consumer: does it do something that other devices that I own don't do? if so, does it do it much better? The answer is no. I have an iPhone and a laptop, this iPad is some odd middle ground device that isn't obviously useful for most users. I'm sure most people here were expecting/hoping that it was much more. It's either a very fancy eBook reader, or a severely lacking tablet. There are so much better options already available for consumers...and that's the bottom line.

RhythmMan
RhythmMan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

StarvingPoet
StarvingPoet

@supernaught360 Or, if you were a software engineer, you'd have realized that you haven't convinced people that they need to won a smartphone, laptop, AND iPad - because this specific tablet doesn't replace either of them. Besides, eBooks have been available on platforms other than the kindle for years.

supernaught360
supernaught360

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Raventhorn
Raventhorn

@supernaught360 if you took two seconds to read through my comments you would see that I am an IPhone and Kindle owner. So I know that Kindle sales are ridiculous...the IPad is NOT a Kindle. It is a media device. And I never said it was about gaming. I am a software engineer who has been in the industry for 25 years...so I am no kid...kid.

Raventhorn
Raventhorn

@r_win umm I said business...not niche businesses like photography. And your view of macs being in education is off by a few years. Most in my 6 school districts I a consult to use PCs. When I say business it is big business. Where peope dont have time to play around with pictures.

FFJunkies
FFJunkies

I hate Apple I had an iPod which wasnt even a year old and I got a damn red circle cross.... =(