The Apple iPad is an 8- by 10-inch touchscreen tablet computer that combines the features of a smart phone, a laptop, an iPod and a gaming console. First released in April 2010, Apple had sold 7.33 million devices by the end of 2010, far surpassing pundit projections. There are two iPad editions: wireless and wireless with 3G; the latter makes the device usable wherever the user has cell phone access. Available in capacities of 16, 32 and 64 gigabytes, the iPad has many benefits no matter how much storage is available.
Portability and Simplicity
The iPad is lightweight, weighing in at 1.5 pounds and only 0.5 inches thick. Slightly smaller than a magazine, it has a familiar feel and is easy to transport. The extended battery life of up to 10 hours works even for extended airplane trips. Learning to use the iPad is especially easy if you are familiar with the iPhone or iPad, since it has the same basic form and function. Even if you have not used other Apple devices, the iPad is instinctively easy to master.
The high resolution LED backlit screen on the iPad is bright and crisp, which makes it a good tool for watching movies, viewing pictures, game playing and Web browsing. It uses display technology called in-plane switching (IPS) so that you can get a good picture at any angle. Most apps can be viewed horizontally or vertically to take advantage of this technology. The iPad is also designed with a multitouch screen, which makes it very responsive. The A4 chip inside the iPad is extremely powerful, yet energy efficient which makes the device work well for cordless gaming.
Based on the iPhone's specs, but redesigned for the iPad, the screen can be adjusted manually for brightness and is also able to detect ambient light itself and automatically adjust brightness and contrast for the best viewing. The display on the iPad is designed for touching with a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating. Your fingers control all navigation depending on the task, one or two fingers tap, swipe, drag or pinch; no stylus is necessary.
Apps are the heart of the iPad. With many thousands of apps to choose from, the iPad can meet the needs of almost any user. To use the App Store, you must create an iTunes account. Whether free or fee-based, all app acquisitions go through iTunes. The apps run the gamut from games to news to book readers to business and more. GPS apps use your location to pinpoint local information to your iPad; for example local weather forecasts, news and even the closest pizza restaurant.
With the release of iOS 4.2 in November, 2010 the iPad gained additional benefits. Organization became much easier with the introduction of application folders, which you can create and add to by sliding apps into a folder. You can also double-tap the Home button to bring up the Dock, which lets you view your most frequently used apps and also control volume and lock the screen into either horizontal or vertical view. Multitasking allows you to run multiple applications at once. iOS 4.2 also unified e-mail accounts in one place and enabled wireless printing, though with specific printers only.
Improving the iPad Further
Although the iPad has many useful benefits on its own, several add-ons can enhance the device. The built-in keyboard is usable, though it does require some getting used to. A wireless Bluetooth keyboard will help with office applications. A VGA adapter can connect the iPad to a projector for presentation displays.
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