The first iPad reviews are in, and Apple’s biggest launch since the iPhone will likely command some epic lines when it lands in stores Saturday. Media nerds want it for the enlarged touch-screen interface; on-the-go business types will have their eyes on its portable work apps; and gamers have a whole new frontier to explore in the iPad App Store.
The new device will mean different things to different people, but here’s a quick cheat sheet if you still haven’t decided whether Apple’s tablet is right for you:
The iPad as a TV
Apple claims the 9.7-inch, high-resolution display can play movies for up to 10 hours on a full battery charge, which should just about get you through a season of your favorite HBO show, the “Star Wars” trilogy with most of the special features or whatever you need to watch to get through a flight from New York to London. Apple will rent and sell video to the iPad through the iTunes store, though Hulu and Netflix reportedly have plans to get on there as well.
» 9.56 inches by 7.47 inches
» 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch
» Backlit display
The iPad as a Laptop Replacement
The iPad might not overpower your current equivalently priced laptop computer, but it may give your smaller netbook a run for its money, thanks to the large screen and specially designed iWork apps for word processing, spreadsheets and slide presentations available through the App Store at $9.99 a pop. If you want to make the device act more like a computer, Apple also offers an external iPad Keyboard Dock for $69 that props the tablet up to resemble a monitor.
» Custom 1GHz A4 SOC made for Apple by Samsung
» 16GB, 32GB and 64GB hard drives available
» Touch-screen keyboard
» Bluetooth 2.1
» WiFi with optional 3G service from AT&T via micro SIM cards
The iPad as a Game Machine
This book-size tablet won’t let you reach anywhere on the screen with your thumbs while you hold it like the iPhone will, but the new format should open the doors for big-name companies like EA and Gameloft to innovate and create entirely new game designs while also opening up a new arena for independent developers. Apple’s App Store boasts more than 150,000 apps that will be compatible with or specifically tailored for the iPad at launch. One of the ripest genres for the device, however, might be board games.
» Multi-touch interface
» Accelerometer and digital compass
» Compatibility with most iPhone and iPod Touch apps
The iPad as an eReader
Look out for competitive book prices from the Amazon’s iPad Kindle App, but the full-color screen should make books look great and comic books and graphic novels look even better.
» iBook Store Marketplace
» Books downloadable in ePub format from about $12.99 to $14.99
The iPad’s Price Tags
The price varies by size and 3G capability, which won’t be included for another few weeks, but here’s what each of these dollar amounts will buy:
» $499: WiFi and 16GB
» $599: WiFi and 32GB
» $699: WiFi and 64GB
» $629: 3G, WiFi and 16GB
» $729: 3G, WiFi and 32GB
» $829: 3G, WiFi and 64GB
Will you be first in line for an iPad? Let us know in the comments below!