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LIVE: Apple's iPad unveiling

SAN FRANCISCO--T-Day is here: This morning, everybody expects Apple to introduce the tablet computer that people have been speculating about -- to an increasingly silly extent -- over the past several months.

Should all those predictions come to pass, in a few hours we can stop guessing what this thing will cost and do. You can watch this change happen (metaphorically speaking) in real time: Stay on this post, starting a little before 1 p.m. Eastern, as I liveblog the festivities here at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater.

9:52 a.m. (Pacific Time): It's a packed auditorium here - I had to climb over a row of seats to find an open seat. They're playing a series of Bob Dylan tunes as the remaining spaces fill up. Up on the stage, there's only a podium, a lounge chair and a table. And on that table... is there some thin, rectangular object?

9:57: Seen between the first row and the stage, former Vice President and current Apple board member Al Gore.

10:00: Steve Jobs walks on stage, looking thin, smiling, and dressed in the usual jeans-and-black-turtleneck combo. "We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product today."

10:05: But first, a few updates on Apple's business: The company recently sold its 250 millionth iPod, saw its 3 billionth download from the App Store and clocked $15.6 billion in revenue in its first fiscal quarter, which Jobs says makes it the biggest mobile-devices vendor in the world.

10:08: And now, on to the main event. Jobs recaps the first PowerBook laptop shipping in 1991 and the first iPhone shipping in 2007. "Everybody uses a laptop and/or a smartphone. The question has arisen lately, is there room for a third category of device in the middle?"

10:11: Behold, the iPad--a rectangular device, almost entirely screen with a small home button at the bottom, like the iPhone. Jobs holds one up.

10:13: Jobs explains the iPad's features--a browser, e-mail software, a calendar, Google-powered maps software, iTunes and the iTunes Store and so on. The display adjusts its orientation automatically depending on how you hold it--left, right, upside down, etc.

10:14: Jobs sits down in the chair to demonstrate the iPad, calling it "so much more intimate than a laptop." He shows how to wake up the device, pull up the New York Times' Web site--joking about the slow connection--and then browses Time and National Geographic's sites. (The NYT home page features a missing-plugin icon, indicating that--as most people expected--there's no Adobe Flash software on the iPad.)

10;17: Now we're checking out the e-mail software on the iPad, which looks to be about the size of an 8.5-by-11 sheet of paper and the thickness of a magazine. The keyboard is onscreen, and big enough for Jobs to more or less touch-type on.

10:20:
The iPad's photo program looks like a simpler version of iPhoto. Jobs selects and album and starts a slideshow of photos from Paris. The music program, in turn, also looks like a streamlined version of the desktop version of iTunes. Jobs queues up the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and John Mayer.

10:23: The tour continues through the calendar, contacts and maps programs. Jobs runs a search for nearby sushi places and brings up a Google Street View of the sushi place I walked by on my way here this morning (Sushi Boat, you can thank Apple for all the PR you just got.)

10:28: Time for some tech specs. The iPad has a 9.7-in. display and runs an Apple-developed processor, the 1 GHz A4. It has 16 to 64 GB of storage and, Jobs says, 10 hours of battery life. "I can take a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo and watch video the whole way on one charge." And it has a month of standby life.

10:31: The iPad runs almost all of the 140,000 iPhone apps, "pixel-doubling" them to run them in full-screen mode. Software vice president Scott Forstall shows how the Facebook app looks and works, then demos ESPN's X Games Snowcrosss and talks about how its video plays smoothly on the iPad.

10:39:
We're looking at how a fast-paced shooter game looks and runs--not unusual for the launch of a mobile device, rather unusual for an Apple device.

10:42: Two executives from the New York Times walk onstage to demonstrate how their new iPad program works. It has a lot of the look of the paper NYT, down to the fonts, but it also includes the usual interactive features--you can zoom in and out, play embedded videos, get the latest news and so on. Not a word about price, but I'm assuming that, like the current Times Reader program, it won't be free.

10:49: Demos of iPad versions of the Brushes art program, Electronic Arts' Need for Speed (impressively fast graphics) and MLB.com's baseball-scores app follow. Note what we haven't gotten into so far, despite Jobs' mention of this as a tablet use case before: e-books.

10: 53: Jobs returns onstage to address that, crediting Amazon for doing "a fantastic job" with the Kindle and saying "we're going to stand on their shoulders." Apple's e-books reader is called iBooks; it includes an integrated store selling titles from (at the moment) Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, MacMillan and Hachette.

10:55: Jobs buys a copy of Ted Kennedy's "True Compass," it downloads in a few seconds and he starts flipping through it. He notes how it preserves the graphics and design of the original book (you can switch among a few different fonts on the fly). Apple--like Sony and Barnes & Noble--is using the increasingly industry-standard ePub format for its store.

11:08: The iPad will also include a version of Apple's Mac-only iWork productivity suite--word processing spreadsheets, presentations. Apple marketing vice president Phil Schiller comes onstage to explain how it relies on multi-touch gestures to do things that require mouse-and-keyboard combinations in the desktop version (for instance, you select multiple slides in a presentation by dragging one out of the outline, then dragging others on top of it). Schiller brags that the Pages word processor features "the most beautiful ruler you've ever seen in an application" and shows how to edit a Numbers spreadsheet with gestures that seem to owe a lot to the iPhone's copy-and-paste interface. While a lot of the things we've seen here look like inflated versions of iPhone apps, this looks like the kind of thing that requires a tablet's bigger screen.

11:11: Each iWork application will sell for $9.99 each and will "easily connect to projectors" to show off your work--so there's a pitch for traveling salespeople.

11:12: The iPad syncs and backs up everything to iTunes and will include WiFi and, in some versions, 3G wireless. It will come with two different 3G plans: one including up to 250 MB of data a month for $14.99 a month and another with unlimited data for $29.99 a month. AT&T wireless will provide this service (which drew some grumbling from somebody in the row behind me). And these plans are without contract--prepaid only, so you can cancel or start up again anytime. That is a big change from how wireless data deals are usually sold.

11:16: No deals yet for service overseas, but all iPads will be unlocked--so, theoretically, you could get a prepaid SIM card from a non-AT&T service if you want. Jobs hopes to have international service arrangements by mid-summer.

11:22: When Jobs starts slowly reciting a new product's features, you know he's about to reveal its price. Jobs notes the pre-release chatter about it: "If you listen to the pundits, we're going to price it at under a thousand dollars, which is code for $999." But, Jobs says, "we had a very ambitious price goal." And, he says, "we have met our cost goal": The iPad starts at $499. (Somebody just audibly gasped at that.) The entry-level $499 model will have 16 gigabytes of storage; a $599 model will offer 32 GB and a $699 model will come with 64. They will ship in about 60 days; 3G-enabled versions will sell for an extra $130 and should ship 30 days later.

11:24: Apple will sell two different docks for the iPad, one with a regulation-sized keyboard.

11:26: A promotional video features a variety of Apple designers and marketing types talking about the iPad's appeal, using words like "magical" and "unbelievable." It's possible they're laying it on a little thick...

11:30: "Do we have what it takes to establish a third category of products?" Jobs asks. "We think we've got the goods. We think we've done it." One reason why: more than 75 million people "already know how to use the iPad," thanks to them buying iPhones or iPod touches. Another: Apple has more than 125 million accounts on the iTunes Store and App Store all enabled for one-click buying, which ought to help grease the skids for the iBooks store.

11:34: Jobs delivers his closing argument--"It's our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price"--and offers his thesis of Apple's role as sitting at "the intersection of technology and liberal arts." Then he invites the audience to a hands-on area next door to try out an iPad. So that's my next move--and that's a wrap for the event. Post your questions in the comments and I'll see what I can get answered.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  January 27, 2010; 6:45 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Mac  
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Next: Answers to (some) iPad questions

Comments

Posted by: wiredog | January 27, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Any live video for the rest of us? Aren't these announcements usually streamed at apple.com? Not notice of that, though.

Posted by: nashpaul | January 27, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

If he's pitching it as a web device, I don't know that he intends for this thing to save the publishing industry. Why pay for a subscription to a newspaper or magazine when you can call up the web page for free?

Posted by: Ronnie76 | January 27, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Are you live-blogging this on your iPhone, the Droid, or a laptop?

Posted by: wiredog | January 27, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so they made a bigger iPhone. Please tell me there's more to it than that.

Posted by: stillcynical | January 27, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"It just works." How many times will I hear this today?

Posted by: prokaryote | January 27, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

It's not a bigger iPhone... it's a bigger iPod touch.

Posted by: random-adam | January 27, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Rob, no nothing about it as book eReader?

Posted by: jbernstein3 | January 27, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Actually it looks like a bigger iPod touch. Hopefully there'll be a "one more thing" moment to show some additional capacity. Like something related to creativity.

Posted by: pppp1 | January 27, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Ii sure hope it does not come in two sizes, maxi and mini...

Posted by: bandfriend | January 27, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Intentionally or not, seems like there will be a lot of confusion between the iPod and the iPad.

Posted by: nashpaul | January 27, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

It has a hidden compartment. To store tampons.

Posted by: BO__Stinks | January 27, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Can I sync my iPhone apps without paying double?

Posted by: BaracksTeleprompter | January 27, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Rob - your next task is to compare the iPad with the iPod Touch, and to let us know why consumers might want to buy the former instead of the latter (apart from the larger screen size). Much appreciated! :-)

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | January 27, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

So WiFi only? No 3G?

Posted by: Ronnie76 | January 27, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it. What's the point?

Posted by: esmith22015 | January 27, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh good god.

"Jobs sits down in the chair to demonstrate the iPad, calling it "so much more intimate than a laptop.""

Really? Did he really say that? With a name like iPad? Here comes SNL.

Posted by: viennamom | January 27, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

10 hours claimed battery life? (which would indicate 5 hours in the real world) That takes it right out of the e-book reader category.

Posted by: stillcynical | January 27, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Filling a need between the iPhone and a laptop? Not for me. All my stuff is on my laptop. And that "virtual keyboard" -- I put up with it on my iPhone but won't on a larger device.

Posted by: BaracksTeleprompter | January 27, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the screen is only 960 x 640 - is that right? Nothing spectacular there.

Posted by: SierraJeff | January 27, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

So far a big iPod touch with book support. Any mention of the price? Availability?

Posted by: pppp1 | January 27, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering how long it would take before Apple reverted back their practice of making cosmetic changes to exiting devices and calling them the next big thing...

Welcome back to the days of red, purple, and orange monitors, and my favorite thing...the hockey puck shaped mouse.

Posted by: wolfcastle | January 27, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Rob -- I've been switching back and forth between your posts and those from the NYT -- and you've continued to scoop the competition with the details. Congratulations! Good job!

Posted by: jwhager | January 27, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Sixty to ninety days and $499 and up. Not bad. Overall I'm giving a B (and I'm a tough grader). Interesting form factor, decent (for apple) price, with or without phone depending on your needs, cheap data only plans, book reading. More evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but still interesting.

Posted by: pppp1 | January 27, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

The folks in Redmond just sh_t another brick.

The way they come out these days they should have a very nice sized house built pretty soon.

No doubt Michael Dell is savoring his view from a few years back about Apple having no future. Now it is Dell that Apple could buy and flush without even putting a major dent in its cash pile.

Innovation pays off in the long run as does having a vision.

Dell and Balmer should try one.

Posted by: dkeller1 | January 27, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

So far a big iPod touch with book support.
Posted by: pppp1 | January 27, 2010 2:05 PM


+++++++++++++

Winner!

Posted by: JkR- | January 27, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

This could mean the end of the Mac Book Air.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | January 27, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

This could mean the end of the Mac Book Air.

+++++++
Sounds like it. It does look like what the Air should have been.

Posted by: pppp1 | January 27, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Meh.

Posted by: dcn8v | January 27, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

If it was also a pressure sensitive drawing tablet that could run Photoshop and Painter I'd buy one tomorrow, but a giant iPhone/ebook reader? No thanks.

Posted by: Chip_M | January 27, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Will a road warrior be able to leave either his laptop or his iPhone home and bring this? I don't see it. Nor do I see why I should add a third device with another data plan.

Posted by: JkR- | January 27, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

does it only support ATT's 3G frequencies or will it be universal?

Posted by: fedssocr | January 27, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Last comment captures my question: 1) technically how does this compare to the netbooks already out there, and 2) how much of a real substitute is it for a true productivity laptop?

Posted by: jbernstein3 | January 27, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the writeup. Downsides: too big to fit in a pocket, too limited to serve as an actual multitasking computer, and zero capability for expansion in a world with 64GB SD cards. Upshots: pay-as-you-go unlimited 3G data plan for $30 monthly, decent pricing structure, and it does admittedly look pretty slick.

Thanks, Jobs, but I'll pass.

Posted by: random-adam | January 27, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

How easy would it be to take notes on this, like in a meeting? Could you include diagrams with your texts, like OneNote? Didn't notice this in the presentation.

Posted by: JohnOfCharleston | January 27, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Rob: Can you use the on-screen virtual keyboard to actually write in the word processing program, and see your output on an upper portion of the screen?

Why is it that I'm thinkinf of a color version of the old Radio Shack Model 100, the first real laptop computer? Didn't that one also have limited storage capacity?

But as a journalist, I still love the feel of the Model 100 keyboard -- something this product can deliver only with the optional dock. As a portable writing device, I think I'd prefer a laptop which also can download books to be viewed in full color.

So what's the unique selling proposition here? I say, put the $500 toward a MacBook and leave the hype to the early adapters.

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 27, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Rob, a question to get answered: Does this affect the iPhone at all? Will the iPhone get the iBooks or iWork or Street View in Maps, for example?

Thanks.

Posted by: filmjoy | January 27, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Currently supports 3G... how about 4G or the next level after 3G?

Any hint on the use of Stylus-pen?

Posted by: jesa98 | January 27, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The Original Apple iPad - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsjU0K8QPhs

Posted by: WoodleyParker | January 27, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Kudos Rob for being so quick with all the information. You beat the Times on the Times App. Sweet! But Washington Post ... will you please figure this out... reverse the order of your posts ... so the newest one shows up on top instead of at the bottom, or give readers the option. The same with the comments. It's so annoying to have to scroll down every time you refresh the page.

Posted by: MC55 | January 27, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I like the camera... wait... cripes!

Posted by: prokaryote | January 27, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Any multi-tasking?

Any external flash drive connections?

Does it capture freehand drawing?

Posted by: davidblevins | January 27, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I assume the iPad will support MS Exchange for e-mail?

Posted by: pshockley | January 27, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

i teach. i was hoping for something that i could use pages on-what type of connectivity is there (i.e., can it be hooked up to a projector)? will their iwork app synch with iwork on macbooks?

Posted by: ambersky | January 27, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line seems to be: Overhyped, limited function playtoy, not a productivity tool by any stretch.

Await your conclusions, Rob. Nice reporting.

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 27, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see someone on the metro with one of these. I'm gonna THROW IT ON THE GROUND.

Posted by: steampunk | January 27, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

lol @ wiredog, i am surprised this device is so affordable. i had a feeling it was going to e 1200 bucks or something. i would much raather have than than an iphone, ipod touch, netbook, etc.

Posted by: BMACattack | January 27, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I think it looks like a winner. There are a lot of details missed in the comments so far. The Apple site has a video up on the iPad. I love the WP, but a much more detailed account is available at http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/27/live-from-the-apple-tablet-latest-creation-event/ and they are posting hands-on results on their home page.

Posted by: Louisville1 | January 27, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I can understand why live blogging and reading might call for reverse chronological order, but anyone coming in late wants to read it as it happened!

I really appreciated that. I gave up on other sites that did it "backwards".

Maybe there's a way to have an optional control to show things in the order the reader wants.

By the way, I really appreciate that the Post's comment are in chronological order; it makes it much easier to follow a thread! (But even there, an optional control, e.g., as Huffington Post does, to display comments in the order the readers wants would be a good idea!)

Posted by: Astrogal | January 27, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Does it have a phone? Or a phone app? External microphones/speakers? Apps for Word/Excel edits?

Posted by: ChrisDC | January 27, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Oops! Also meant to add my voice to the chorus of people expressing appreciation for your blogging this!

You provided good detail and, in reading it, made one feel as if he or she were actually there!

Thanks, Rob!

Posted by: Astrogal | January 27, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

But what technology need does this fulfill?

Posted by: Wallenstein | January 27, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Rob ...
great job; thanks for the update!

Posted by: zazizi | January 27, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Apple's site has the specs up.

Apparently it is unlocked (or at least the European version will be), with SIM card slot. So what's to prevent Verizon from setting up a 3G plan to compete with AT&T? Just load their card and...

Posted by: seahawkdad | January 27, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Rob, can you load other software onto this? I'm thinking specifically about a database program called EndNote.

Thanks for all the scoop!

Posted by: Webs | January 27, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Rob, you exercised good judgment in blogging in chronological order, not in the annoying reverse order. What I did not get clear is whether the iPad is also a cellphone. I gather that it is not, but some comments have made the issue ambiguous to me. How does one talk with this oversized cellphone, or, for that matter, take photos with this oversized camera? I suppose that the camera would be optically challenged, given the thinness of the device.

Posted by: bentleypublic | January 27, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Rob, The iPad seems to be little more than a larger and glorified iPod Touch, and it still lacks multitasking (a feature which was already commonplace 15 years ago). In your opinion, would the iPad have been a greater killer device if it had sported Snow Leopard instead?

Posted by: bentleypublic | January 27, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Were there NO womean involved in naming this thing. I can't even focus on the features because of the room the ipad maxi/ipad mini/itampon jokes are taking up in my mind.

Posted by: kawilson69 | January 27, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Any news on the iphone doing to Verizon?

Posted by: coachl555 | January 27, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

How does/will the iPad compare to the Always Innovating Touch Pad? Looks like it has more memory and a faster processor but less flexibility, less utility, more expensive, and is (still) locked in to AT&T (which makes it essentially a non-starter for me given AT&Ts mediocre service). What's your take?

Posted by: Psi5 | January 27, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

@seahawkdad - the iPad probably runs on GSM networks only. Verizon uses CDMA.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | January 27, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Great another PC marketed to homosexual men and metrosexuals. Just what the world needs another Apple.

Posted by: screwjob2 | January 27, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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