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Apple's iPad tablet announced, reaches for gamers

12:13 PM on 01.27.2010 // Dale North
  @DaleNorth

We've been hearing about it forever now. It's the next "worst kept secret." It's Apple's new big-assed iPhone looking thing, called the iPad, and it was just announced by Steve Jobs at Apple's conference in San Francisco. A "truly magical product," he calls it. It's a digital tablet. It's "between a laptop and a smartphone."

Browsing. Email. Photos. Videos. Music. Games. eBooks. "Way better than a laptop, way better then a phone," says Jobs.

iTunes is built in, as is a QWERTY touch keyboard. You can watch TV on it. A full browser is included. Full multitouch with gestures. Watch HD YouTube videos. Books are handled by a new app called iBooks.

Why do you care? You may not, but as gamers, you should at least take note of what they're trying to do here for us. This device takes your little iPhone/iPod Touch games and scales them up to be played on a bigger surface. WiFi and 3G connections mean that you can pull games and apps down anywhere ($29.99 unlimited data from ATT). The games run with no issue, and can even be "double pixeled" to run full screen. Also, games can also be written to take full advantage of the larger screen. Gameloft brought a beefed up version of their FPS N.O.V.A, showing tight graphics and new possibilities for control schemes. For example, a two-finger slide can throw grenades.

If you're a tech freak or an avid reader, then the device's other features will surely appeal to you. It's part iPhone, part MacBook and part digital reader. It's .5 inches thin, 1.5 pounds and has a 9.7 inch IPS display. It sports a 1ghz Apple  A4 processor. There's up to 64GB of storage space, also coming in 16 and 32GB sizes. It has 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. 30-pin connector, speaker, microphone, accelerometer and compass. 10 hours of battery life.

No Flash support yet. Oh, and butterfingers? It's reeeeeally going to suck if you drop this one.

The price is set at $499 for the cheapest model (16GB). $599 and $699 for the 32 and 64GB. The 3G models cost an extra $130, so $629, $729 and $829 for them. The iPad ships in 60 days, or 90 days for the 3G models.

Apple Tablet Liveblog [Engadget], live.gizmodo.com [Gizmodo]

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