So the long-rumoured, highly-anticipated Apple Tablet, now known to be the iPad, is finally here – but did it bring with it all the things we were looking for? We go through it blow-by-blow to see whether Steve Jobs delivered on the day.
What we wanted: A 10-inch, nice-looking, travel-friendly tablet
What we got: Ticked boxes all round here. The iPad packs a 9.7-inch screen, measures up at just 0.5 inches thick and weighs a bag-friendly 1.5lbs (0.6kg). Sure, it looks a lot like a blown up iPod Touch, but what's to complain about there?
What we wanted: A price tag under £500
What we got: Well, it's not quite clear yet whether we'll get this or not. Jobs priced up the lowest specced iPad at $499 last night, but failed to let us in on any international pricing details. If we were to simply convert this to pounds by exchange rate, it would mean we'd be looking at around £350, but we've seen enough launches to know that rarely happens. Instead, it's often a case of removing the dollar sign, and replacing it with a pound one. It'd still mean it came in just under £500, but you'd have to decide whether you'd be happy with 16GB of storage and Wifi only – 3G models will cost $120 more on top of the base price, plus a data contract.
What we wanted: Colour e-ink screen with dedicated ebook mode
What we got: A regular backlit touchscreen, which means reading ebooks could get tiring on the eyes compared to your dedicated e-reader. This also threw concern as to the battery life, but Apple put minds at rest by assuring us of a 10 hour battery life when in use, and up to a month on standby. Jobs also announced iBooks, Apple's ebook store, which not only looks lovely, but could really set the bar high in terms of other ebook stores in the market.
What we wanted: A tablet great for multimedia use, complete with multitasking
What we got: Browsing the web on the iPad should be a great – it'll be quicker than the iPhone thanks to Apple's proprietary 1GHz processor under the hood, and you'll be able to hop on to Wifi networks or use 3G if you've coughed up the extra for it. The downside is that it doesn't pack the multitasking we'd all thought was a must-have. So although you'll be able to listen to music on iTunes while browsing the web as you can on the iPhone, you won't be able to have a web page open and be working on iWorks, which is a bit of a disappointment.
What we wanted: Flash support, finally
What we got: Although many thought this would be the device that would see Apple have to shake hands with Adobe and allow Flash to work with the iPad, it wasn't. Even when Jobs was showing off the iPad's capabilities he stumbled across a webpage in need of a Flash plugin. Whoops. Here's hoping it comes in an update, or that more Flash websites get behind HTML 5, and sharpish.
What we wanted: A camera
What we got: Despite all the rumours to the contrary, Apple has not added a camera into the iPad, putting an end to hopes of Skype calling and taking stupid photos of yourself in Photo Booth. Still, perhaps we'll see a webcam-shaped iPad accessory on the market soon. Apple knows what it's doing...
What we wanted: Bespoke iPad apps
What we got: We got a few, but considering Apple wanted to keep the iPad firmly under their hats, they hadn't shopped it around too much prior to launch. So far we have a few games from the likes of EA, a New York Times app showing what the format could mean for publishing, and of course the specially tweaked apps from Apple including a rather funky-looking Photos app, iWork and iBooks.
We were also told the iPad would run iPhone apps, and be capable of doubling the pixels to upscale them to full iPad screen-size. However, as Jobs announced the iPhone SDK would be expanded to allow developers to start designing apps for the iPad from yesterday, here's hoping we see more iPad-specific apps coming soon.
What we wanted: Over-the-air ebooks downloads and syncing
What we got: A big tick next to over-the-air downloads – you'll be able to buy ebooks in the same way you can download apps from the App Store and songs from iTunes. Just browse for the title you want, click it, and once downloaded it will appear on your bookshelf, ready for you to read whenever you want to. As for syncing though, you're going to have to hook your iPad up to your computer and do it the old-fashioned way.
What we wanted: Cool, usable accessories
What we got: So far, so good. Apple announced a protective cover, which folds back to allow the iPad to stand upright for watching movies, and Camera Connection Kit, which will allow you to plug your SD card or camera USB cable into an adaptor and put photos directly on to the iPad without the need of a computer.
Probably the coolest accessory though was the keyboard dock, which sees the iPad attaching to a physical keyboard – good for when you're at home and doing a lot of typing. Strangely though, it only attaches in the portrait position. We'd have thought landscape made far more sense.
What we wanted: For it not to be called the iSlate
What we got: The "iPad". The jury's still out on the name...