Technology moves as fast as lightning, and when it hits, it can be an exhilarating shock to the system, or it can be a disaster that leaves you feeling burnt. So it goes with the latest release from the technology gurus at Apple with the much hyped iPad. Upon its release on April 3rd, numerous “techno geeks” and Apple devotees stood in long lines for hours (just don’t tell any of them that the lines were gone by mid-day). The unofficial record stands at 700k units sold the first day. Although you have surely been privy to the mega hype of the advertising campaign, you’re probably still asking the most basic question: “What is it?” This intriguing piece of technology is said to exist somewhere between a smartphone and a laptop. It is shaped much like an iPhone with a flat face and sleek rounded edges. At 7.5”x 9.5”x 0.5,” it is a little smaller than a standard sized, multi-subject spiral notebook of paper.
Even with its compact size, the iPad is chock-full of technological wonderment. The iPad has a 9.7” HD TouchPad screen and comes with optional flash memory in 16, 32, or 64 GB, which is plenty for the average smartphone/laptop user. The interface of the device is done completely through the TouchPad face, which includes a TouchPad keyboard (typical external keyboard is optional). The iPad comes standard with Wi-Fi wireless communication, such as the wireless router of your home/office network, or it can be upgraded to be equipped with 3G cellular service. However, the iPad does not have cell phone capabilities, and the cellular service comes with a regular monthly charge. The standard software programs are very impressive and include Internet browser, email, calendar, contacts, notes, maps, photos, videos, music, an eBook reader, and Apple’s versions of Word (Pages), Excel (Numbers), and PowerPoint (Keynote). Plus, you can download over 150,000 applications created specifically for the iPad, and if that is not enough, all the apps you can download or have downloaded for the iPhone work on the iPad.
So what’s not to love? The known critiques of the iPad include its inability to play Flash video; it does not have the typical USB port to plug in any peripheral hardware such as a printer or external hard drive, and it can be awkward for less tech savvy people to use. But the single biggest criticism is the price! The base model starts at $499, add 3G for $130 and memory upgrades at a $100 a pop, and you’ll reach the top of the line model very quickly and pay a steep $829. So if the lightning strikes, you’ll either be wondering what the burning feeling is emanating from your pocket book, or you’ll find yourself reeling with the other obliviously ecstatic “techno geeks.”
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