Steve Jobs has finally ended the intense speculation about Apple’s plans for a tablet-type computing device. Yesterday, he presented the iPad to the usual rapturous audience in San Francisco, announcing that "It’s like holding the Internet in your hands":
However, it was not just the Apple faithful and tech geeks who are looking to the new device as a fast track into the digital future. Many traditional print industries, battered by by declining sales and free distribution models, such as newspapers and book publishers, are hoping that the iPad will open up new possibilities for them; in the way that the iPod revolutionised the business models available to the music industry. The device also seems to hold out tantalising possibilities for integration between traditional reading practices, gaming, and rich media.
"The iPad is Apple’s attempt to revolutionise the way that we use the internet, play computer games and read electronic books. Apple hopes that the portable computer, with its multi-touch screen and user-friendly software, will also transform the way we listen to music and watch television.
A touchscreen gadget bigger than an iPhone will provide a wider playing field for gamers and offer game developers a new way to push the limits of their creativity. “Any game where there are multiple moving objects on the screen, or a map to explore, will be a better experience,” said Ian Lynch Smith, the president of Freeverse, a developer of iPhone and Mac games." ( From The Times‘ coverage of the launch.)
But perhaps the most revolutionary development on the iPad was that it uses an enhanced version of the the iPhone OS. As Farhad Manjoo noted in Slate:
This itself is a breakthrough. Apple is departing from—if not dispensing with—the multi-window, desktop metaphor that it invented with the Mac and that has come to dominate PCs via Windows.