5 things you need to know about the Apple iPad

If you put money on the rumoured new device from Apple (a) being a tablet, (b) being called the iPad and (c) looking like a massive iPhone, go and col...



1. It looks like a big iPhone

The iPad’s 9.7-inch IPS screen dwarfs the iPhone and iPod Touch’s 3.5 inchers, but the single home button is there, and that icon layout style is instantly recognizable. It’s half an inch thick and weighs around 680g. Thanks to the extra screen real estate, you can customize wallpaper backgrounds, too. And battery life is 10 hours, or a month on standby. Put that in your pipe, iPhone.

2. There are apps for that

Obviously. But the iPad will have access to all the iPhone apps from the off – that’s 140,000 at the last count. These can be run at native (3.5-inch) size, or beefed up to full-screen at lower resolution. New apps to look forward to include the iBooks ereader, tons of games, a full-fat port of the Brushes iPhone app and the iWork suite (at a bargain $10 per app, or 30 bucks for the lot).

3. “It screams!”

Steve Jobs phrase, not ours. But we’d have to agree that it is fast. As we’ve come to expect from Apple, the iPad’s UI transitions are smooth and handsome and some of the game demos at the event showed some pretty decent rendering (though it won’t win over hyperclocking PC gaming nuts). A proprietary 1GHz Apple A4 chip is running the show. Just don’t say Power PC, alright?

4. Old UI, new tricks

As we’ve said, the UI is more than a little iPhone-esque, but Apple has used the iPad’s extra screen space to introduce some pretty cool tweaks. Most noticable are the drop-down contextual menus that make even lighter work of navigation. Even the on-screen keyboard looks usable, though for doubters there’ll be a docking keyboard. Brace yourself for a slew of new accessories.

5. You can afford it (maybe)

The 16GB WiFi model without 3G is only $499 in the States, with a $100 dollar premium for the 32GB version (64GB goes for an extra $100 on top of that). All iPad models add 3G for $130. We’ve only got Stateside figures for the iPad’s data deals so far (international network deals should be released in June), but they look good - $15 a month for 250MB or double that for unlimited downloads. The iPad ships in 60 days in the States. The 3G version will take an extra month. Here? Not 'til summer by the sound of it, but hopefully with similar data deals. Please...