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Apple Tablet event: Live countdown

iSlate? iPad? Will it be the next iPhone or the next Newton?

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Stay tuned to Techworld, and refresh this feature, as our team of editors and reporters will update the latest news from the event, and analyse what the new device will mean to you.

7.40pm The event is wrapping up now.

Snell has more thoughts on the iBooks: "Interesting that there was no mention of magazines or newspapers in the iBookstore segment. That suggests to me that for publishers of periodicals, app development is going to be the way to go."

Jobs' final words:

"The reason Apple is able to create products like the iPad is because we've always tried to be at the interesection of technology and liberal arts. To get the best of both, to make extremely advanced products from a technology point of view, but have them be intuitive, easy to use, fun to use. Fit the users, rather than having users come to them. The combination of these two things has let us make the kind of creative products like the iPad. We've got a hands-on area next door. When you feel this much fun in your hands, you'll never want to go back!

"We hope you love the iPad as much as we do. And that's it!"

That's the end of the event. I hope you've liked our live coverage. Our lucky reporters in San Francisco have their hand on the iPad as I sit here typing.

7.37pm Steve Jobs is back. "Do we have what it takes to establish a third category of products? The bar's pretty high. It's got to be far better at doing some key things like browsing, email, photos, etc. We think we got the goods. We think we've done it. We're so excited about this product.

"Another thing we're so excited about is because we've shipped over 75 million iPhones/iPod touches, all those people already know how to use the iPad."

7.34pm: Jobs on the cost: "What should we price it at? If you listen to the pundits we're going to price it at $999. When we set out to develop the iPad we not only had very ambitious technical goals and user interface goals, but we had a very aggressive price goal. We want to put this in the hands of lots of people. And just like we were able to meet or exceed our technical goals, we have met our pricing goals. Starts at $499!"

Then the play a video to all those at the San Francisco launch. Here's a breakdown of the pricing structure.

iPad prices

7:30pm:

Jobs: "Now how do you turn this on and manage it? Don't have to go to store, just activate it on iPad. No contract: it's pre-pay."

Somebody seriously just gave a whistle to that.

"Cancel anytime. We think it's phenomenal."

Hello, some UK dates: "We hope to have international deals in place by June/July."

"All iPad 3G models are unlocked and use new GSM micro SIMs. So if carriers use micro SIMs, the existing iPad will just work."

So, iPad. Review time. Internet, e-mail, best device for photos. Great for enjoying music. Video is phenomenal. Runs almost all 140,000 apps on the App Store as well as a whole new generation of apps. And it has a new iBooks application with iBook Store. Carry literally thousands of books around on your iPad. And the iWork suite for doing productivity.

7.29pm Jobs: "Now I'd like to talk about wireless networking. Every iPad has WiFi... but we're also going to have models with 3G cellular wireless data built in as well. Now, what does it cost for the data plans? In the US, telecoms charge about $60 a month for data plans for laptop. We got a real breakthrough here, two awesome plans for iPad owners. First one gives you up to 250MB a month. Most people will get by on that: just $14.99. Unlimited data if you feel you need more, for just $29.99. Breakthrough deal with AT&T. (Ed's note: Yes, it's AT&T people.) And free use of Wi-Fi hotpots all throughout US."

7.27pm And Steve is back to talk about iTunes. "The iPad syncs with iTunes on your Mac/PC just like the iPhone or iPod touch. Sync Photos, Music, Movies, TV shows, Contacts, Claendars, Bookmarks, Applications. Backups are synced back. Ever lose your iPad and get another one, restore it right from the backup."

7.25pm: iWork applications - Keynote, Pages, Numbers - will be $9.99 each from the App store.

7.20pm: Ho hum, iWork. It looks nice and it's a great way to justify it as a work expense, but it's the graphics, the games and the eBook reader that will really excite consumers about iPad.

Anyway, here are the iWork photos:

iWork example slide

iWork example soccer

7.18pm: Schiller is demonstrating iWork: "Keynote runs in landscape because slides are designed horizontally. First thing you see is slide library. Presentations that we've created in Keynote. Tap a button to create a new presentation, access to tempates. Choose one and you get the layout. Menu items on top and slide navigator on the left. Scroll with your finger to move around the slide navigator. Go to a slide? Just tap on it. Text, tables, charts.

"How do you move a slide around in the navigator without a keyboard or mouse? Tap and hold, drag it wherever you want and now you've rearranged your slide. Can select multiple slides by tapping and holding and then tapping additional slides. Here's a slide with images: how do you get those in? Grab them from your photo albums with a media navigator. Drag your photo where you want. To resize, grab a handle and start resizing. Want to match size? While resizing tap another photo and it matches. Want to do a mask? Just tap and pan around.

"What else? Animations. Tap the animation mode. Tap an animation, and you can choose one and it previews it. With just a finger you're doing very advanced slide animation techniques. Hit the play button and we're presenting. Tap or swipe to go forward."

Snell's thoughts on iBook: "I assume that Amazon will be allowed to build its own app for iPad, as it has for iPhone. So there may be an outlet for Kindle owners."

7.15pm: Phil Schiller on the stage to talk about iWork on the iPad.

Schiller: "iWork is a suite of applications that millions and millions of our customers really love. Home, business, and school customers can do word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets. Can you bring this software to a multi-touch product."

"Completely new version of Keynote designed just for the iPad. Complete new version of Pages—the most beautiful word processor that you will ever see. And Numbers: a spreadsheet that is fun and cool to use—when's the last time someone told you that? And Phil's going to give us a demo.

Our reporter Snell says: "Putting a iWork suite of apps on this device is a big deal, because it says that it's not just a toy, not just for recreation, but also for people who want to get work done. That's interesting because it broadens who Apple will sell this product to."

7.13pm Jobs: "Now, something very exciting... iWork. A little over a year ago I asked the head of our team about creating iWork for the iPad. The reaction was... 'ahhh they require a lot of horsepower'"

"Could tablet power them? Answer was a resounding 'you betcha.' Could we come up with an entirely new interface for these apps? Very different from a personal computer."

7.11pm Big announcement that they're using EPUB. That's basically the standard, so that's huge news because Apple could have gone its own way.

7.06pm: Is Steve Jobs about to save the publishing industry?

Jobs on the iBook: "Now Amazon has done a great job of pioneering this... we're going to stand on their shoulders for this. Our new app is called iBooks."

It has a bookshelf. There's a button on upper left corner that's the iBook Store, fully integrated with the iBooks app. Download and purchase apps right on your iPad. Five of the largest publishers: Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Hachette Boook Group are partnered to provide books. (Ed's note: Didn't see McGraw-Hill on that list!)

Apple iPad iBook bookshelf

iBook bestsellers

A demo of the iBook. Hitting the store button is like a secret passageway. It flips around. If you've used iTunes or the App Store, you're already familiar. Prices look like they very between $7.99 and $14.99. Buying Teddy Kennedy's memoir. You can get a sample if you want, but Steve's going to tap and buy. Downloads right onto the bookshelf.

Just tap if you want to read. Tap anywhere on the right to flip forward, on the left to flip back. Drag page if you want to slowly turn the page. Go to Table of Contents and pick a chapter.

6.56pm: News for developers

Forstall: "If developer spends some time modifying, they can take full advantage of the large touch-screen display. This is what Apple did with its own apps, like Music, Photos, etc. So, to that end, they've enhanced iPhone SDK to support development for iPad. SDK is being released today at Apple.com"

"Developers can download today and get going. It even includes an iPad simulator so you can run your iPad apps right on your Mac as you develop them. We thinkit's going to be a whole new gold rush for developers. And of course, every iPad comes with App Store loaded up on it."

6.52pm: Under the hood - Apple iPad is powered by Apple's own chip, the A4.

Apple iPad is powered by Apple chip

6.45pm: The iPad comes with a number of apps from the store unmodified. Sounds like you can download all your iPhone apps right on to your iPad.

Snell writes: "Huge move by Apple to take advantage of the apps in the app store and get them on this device. It was really a must, and it instantly makes it more valuable."

There's an option to run apps at one size or full screen, scaled up. The screen is definitely not 16x9, it's closer to the 4:3 used in traditional TVs. When you run an app on the iPad it can run at iPhone size, with a little bezel around it to indicate you're emulating an iPhone. Or hit the 2x button and it blows up to double size.

They show a demo of a game with lots of graphics - ESPN's XGames SnoCross. Moren writes: "Plays a video at the beginning. Video works great on the iPad. Skip the rest of the video and get to the game. Race in Arcade mode. IT's an OpenGL ES game, so it really drives graphics hardware. Unmodified right off the App Store. Steering with acelerometer. 2X it looks pretty good. Tremendous frames. Having played some games on here, they're smooth and fun. There you go. Right out of the App Store unmodified."

 

Browsing on iPad

6.41pm: Scott Forstall, SVP iPhone Software, is on the stage to discuss software:

"App Store has been a huge success. Launched a year and a half ago. Customers have already downloaded 3 billion apps choosing from among 140,000 apps. Built the iPad to run virtually every app unmodified right out of the box. Do that in two ways. Pixel-for-pixel accuracy in a black box in the middle of screen or automatically pixel double and run apps full screen."

6.39pm: More details: 802.11n WI-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. Accelerometer and compass, speaker microphone, 30-pin connector. Battery.

Moren: "What is the battery life of this device? 10 hours of battery life. Applause!"

Jobs says you can take a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo and watch video the whole way on one charge. In addition, over a month of standby life. If you set the iPad down, it goes to sleep automatically, walk away and come back in a month and it still has a charge. (Ed's note: Battery life has been one of Apple's biggest failings in the past.)

Apple's green credentials: "Arsenic free, BFR-free, mercury-free, PVC-free, highly recyclable."

Apple iPad 10 hours battery life

6.35pm GMT: Some more photos

Apple Tablet iPad icons

Apple iPad music

Moren's words: "Landscape mode for videos. Movies, TV shows, music videos. Tap on Modern Family, pick an episode and watch it. Or Star Trek, go to Chapters. The aspect ratio is a little weird; there are some pretty big letterbox black bars on top and bottom. Showing off Up. Double-tap to make it full screen if you want. That's video on the iPad.

"A little bit of an overview as to what the iPad can do. Watching it is nothing like getting one in your hands. Feeling all of that right underneath your fingertips. Back to the hardware a little bit.

"A half inch thin. Weighs just 1.5 pounds. Thinner and lighter than any netbook. 9.7 inch IPS display. Super high quality using IPS technology so you get great angle of view. Full capacitive multi-touch. 1GHz Apple A4 chip (Gruber laughs). Most advanced chip they've ever done; processor, graphics, I/O, and everything in one chip. 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of flash solid state storage."

What about the name? Snell says: "People don't like the iPad name but I think the connotations you're thinking of will drift away. iPod didn't mean anything either, but here we are."

6.28pm: Jason Snell: "This interface is interesting, because unlike the iPhone, it's got panes and floating windows and lots of stuff that you can do when you've got a bunch of screen space.

"Great calendar. week view, day view, month view, a lot like iCal, but it actually looks nicer..."

Jobs demos the iPad: "Here's our current location in San Francisco. Typing in sushi to search and should find all the sushi places nearby. Tap on a pin. Tap Google street view and it shows you the restaurant. (Ed's note: How many people are going to stalk Steve at Sushi Boat?)

"Video. Go to YouTube. Pick a clip called Wet and Woofy in HD on YouTube. IT's a surfing dog!"

Apple iPad

6.22pm: Moren reports on Jobs: "To send the message, just hit the compose button. He's typing on it like a standard QWERTY keyboard, just putting the tablet in his lap. I guess that answers the text entry question. Not sure you'd want to type on it for a long time, though.

"Now looking at photos. You can turn in portrait or landscape and flick through the photos, just like on the phone. Grabs metadata from PC or Mac. If you're on a Mac, you can also get events, faces, and places from iPhoto. Look inside any album just by pinching it open. Scrub through them with a little bar at the bottom.

"Events, Faces, and places. Shows a big map with pins in it. Tap and hold on the pin and see all the photos there. Tap on it to open the photos. There are built-in slideshows, so you can bring up slideshow options and pick your transition. Just starts playing music and then flips through the images."

6.19pm: Dan Moren describes the Apple iPad: "It's a slate that looks like a larger iPhone. There's a home button, an aluminium bezel like a MacBook, a glass screen. Your able to personalise your home screen however you want. You can browse the Web with it - Steve says it's the best browsing experience you've had."

6.15pm: It's called iPad.

Steve Jobs: "Some people think that's a netbook. The problem is, netbook's aren't better than anything. We think we've got something that is, and we'd like to show it to you today, and we call it the iPad."

6.11pm: Ah, the moment! First photos of Apple Tablet are on Engadget. Please not mockups again!

6.09pm: Predictions so far, according to beta tester and CEO of Mahalo.com:

* Tablet has a 10-inch display,

* It will cost around $600 to $800 in the US

* The "best gadget ever made"

6.02pm GMT: Steve Jobs is on stage.

Also, there are some more photos from the event over on CNet's live blog.

5.58pm GMT: Macworld reporter Jason Snell writes: "There's a leather easy chair on stage, with a small circular white table next to it with something on it...."

5:54pm GMT: While we are waiting for the event to kick off, here is some more detail on the Guardian Johnson's theory about content being the driver for the tablet.

"Most pundits are saying Apple will deliver these new forms of content via the iTunes Store. But if that's the case, will this content be accessible on other devices? If content is king it wouldn't make much sense to restrict new media formats to the tablet, but open them up to as many platforms as possible."

5.49pm GMT: Time for another crazy rumour, care of @chuckfalzone: "Prediction: the big surprise will be that the Apple tablet uses Android."

5.44pm GMT: Macworld reporter Dan Moren writes from the event: "It's a packed house here. I felt like a salmon swimming upstream on my way in."

5.32pm GMT: The hour is nearly upon us. Here is a list of all the places you can watch today's announcement.

* Techworld sister sites PCWorld.com and Macworld will have a live visual chat.

* As mentioned below, the guys at Gizmodo are live blogging from the event.

* Techcrunch also promise live coverage

* For a UK take, the Guardian has been doing an excellent job today tweeting from the event.

Speaking of the Guardian, Bobbie Johnson's thoughts on what will be unveiled makes for thought-provoking reading:

"These are just inferences and hunches, but I'm keeping my expectations low: a tablet computer that's well-built and uses an interface very similar to the iPhone's. I think it will be promoted as a way to download and watch movies, read books and magazines and surf the web. I reckon it will cost at least $600 (probably £450 in Britain) and go on sale in a couple of months. Steve Jobs will claim this is a more important step forward for the way we use computers than the Mac or the iPhone - and if that pans out, it could end up being because of the content deals Apple has forged."

5.27pm GMT: Twitter, as is the way for any big event, is aflutter with talk of the Tablet. One of the craziest rumours to emerge: President Obama will use an Apple Tablet in his state of the Congress event tonight.

Funniest tweet of the day is by @guyincognito: "This might be a rumor but I heard the new Apple Tablet is powered by unicorn tears."

5.23pm GMT: Gizmodo is also running a live blog of the event. Stephen Fry (comedian, Apple enthusiast) is amongst the big names to be photographed at the event.

5.18pm GMT: Beware of fakes. Apple has not confirmed whether the product it will launch today is a Tablet PC, but already sellers on eBay claim to be selling them. Amongst other fakes being sold is the yet-to-be-launched iPhone 4G, although it is listed as "used". It doesn't take a genius to figure out what trends scammers and malware developers will exploit.

5:00pm GMT: What Steve Jobs will really unveil today (according to Fredo and Pid'jin). That would be awesome.

Meanwhile, America's satirical newspaper, the Onion, has reported that Steve Jobs pulled an all-nighter as he rushed to design the Apple Tablet. The Onion states that Jobs "completely forgot about the much-hyped electronic device until the last minute".

3.00pm GMT: The Guardian reports that Paddypower is offering odds on various names. The odds are: iTablet 1/2; iPad 3/1; iSlate 3/1; iBook 12/1; iPage 33/1; iPaper 33/1; iCan 33/1..

10.29am GMT: Engadget publishes leaked photos of a device, that appears to be the Applet Tablet PC, hours before the official launch of the tablet. Engadget also reports that the official name remains a secret but Apple employees are calling it by the codename of "K48".

3.09am GMT: Top McGraw-Hill exec Terry McGraw spills the beans to CNBC that Apple will unveil a tablet PC today, and that the device will run a version of the iPhone OS.


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