The iPad doesn’t completely overhaul the iPhone’s touch-driven interface. It is still very much a touch-driven experience so just about anyone who’s used an iPhone will immediately be familiar with the iPad’s interface.
Like a Swiss army knife, the device has a long list of functions that include web surfing, gaming, and reading e-books.
Confident in its web surfing capabilities, Jobs said web browsing on the iPad is like holding the Internet in the palm of your hands.
Users can browse entire webpages using Apple’s Safari browser on the iPad and employ the same finger gestures used on the iPhone to scroll up and down, or flick pictures and pages.
Leveraging on Apple’s large collection of existing applications, the iPad can readily run any native iPhone application from the App Store. The iPad can run them either in their native resolution of 320 x 480-pixels or scale up them up to fit the entire screen.
Apple had several developers to showcase their applications during its press event in San Francisco with Electronic Arts showing off an iPad-optimised Need for Speed: Shift car racing game.
Initial impressions show a rather smooth-running game with high-resolution graphics. Driving the cars in the game is by both touch and motion controls.
Other applications announced for the iPad include a new version ofiWorks featuring Pages, Keynote and Numbers that allow users to create text documents, presentations and spreadsheets.
The three applications will be available separately through the App Store for US$9.99 (RM34) each.
Giving the Amazon Kindle a run for its money, the iPad also functions as an e-book reader, courtesy of Apple’s new iBooks application. The iPad will use Apple’s new iBookstore that will feature books from major and independent publishers.
The iPad comes in two versions — one with WiFi and the other with both WiFi and 3G.
It will go on sale in late March, with prices starting at US$499 (RM1,697) for WiFi-only models and up to US$829 (RM2,818) for the WiFi- and 3G-enabled 64GB model.
There was no announcement at the San Francisco event about when the iPad will be available in Malaysia.