Apple has finally unveiled its oddly named iPad device. Looking similar to an extra-large version of an iPhone, Apple’s new iPad device features an updated version of the iPhone’s operating system working through an impressive 9.7-inch touchscreen, powered by an Apple-developed 1 GHz CPU. Real cool.
The new MID (mobile Internet device) follows the lead of the iPhone sporting 3G and 4G network capabilities that are compatible with 850/1900/2100 MHz networks using GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSPA technology.
This means that domestic support for AT&T Mobility’s network is already enabled. Apple did note however that iPad models shipping with 3G support would be unlocked allowing customers to swap out SIM cards for different wireless carriers if they wish to do so, but for U.S. customers the technology support leaves AT&T Mobility as the only real option for now.
The overall reliance on the same wireless technology as the current iPhone 3G S could be seen as a disappointment to some users that were looking to break out of their current network issues at the hands of AT&T Mobility’s already overburdened 3G network.
AT&T has repeatedly said it was upgrading its 3G capabilities to handle the increased load being placed on it by the iPhone and other data hungry smartphones, but the wireless carrier’s network still isn’t fully upgraded to 3G yet, but the company assures us it will be by mid-February.
That also means no initial support for Verizon Wireless’ or Sprint’s CDMA networks as well, or any mention of support for next-generation networks using LTE or WiMAX technology. As the British would say, “Pitty”.
Also similar to the iPhone, Apple added yesterday that data packages for the new iPad will run at about $30 a month for unlimited transmission, with a lower-cost $15 a month plan capped at 250 megabytes of data transmission.
However, no contract is required for the service, but also, no subsidy is being provided for now, and AT&T Mobility is also throwing in free usage of its extensive Wi-Fi hotspots around the globe.
Pricing for the iPad runs between $499, $599 and $699 depending on the amount of embedded flash memory support of 16 gigabytes, 32 gigs or 64 gigs, respectively, with the addition of 3G connectivity adding $130 to the price of each model.
The various pricing options of the iPad are between the Apple’ss iPhone/iPod Touch models and its MacBook laptop computers.
iPad models sporting 3G connectivity are expected to be available in about two to three months with non-3G models available in mid-March.
Apple also announced its new iBook platform that is similar to models currently being used by Amazon for its Kindle and Barnes & Noble for its Nook e-reader.