Apple launches the iPad to huge fanfare, but questions are asked about its capability and security

After huge speculation and anticipation, Apple launched the iPad tablet device last night to huge fanfare.

It claimed that it is ‘a revolutionary device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading e-books and much more'.

It features a responsive high-resolution multi-touch display, is 0.5 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds and it is 9.56" tall and 7.47" wide. It includes 12 applications especially designed for it, and it will run almost all of the apps in the App Store.

It is powered by A4, Apple's next-generation system-on-a-chip that provides processor and graphics performance along with long battery life of up to ten hours. According to Apple, the adaptive charging technology delivers up to 1,000 charge cycles without a significant decrease in battery capacity over a typical five-year lifespan.

There are two versions available - one with 802.11n WiFi and another with both WiFi and 3G that supports speeds of up to 7.2Mbps on HSDPA networks.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: “iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price. iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”

Within minutes of its high-profile launch, Paddy Power offered bets on the amount of sales Apple will make this year, with 8/1 offering on under one million, 7/2 on sales of one to two million and 11/4 on two to three million.

A spokesperson said: “Having just seen Steve's presentation I'm already convinced that I really need an iPad and I'm pretty sure there are millions of others who feel just the same way. I think the smart money is on over two million sales this year, for sure.”

Security blogger and white hat hacker, the harmony guy, was very positive on his Twitter page about the iPad. He said: “I was a sceptic at first, but the more I think about this, the more I realise how right Steve is - the iPad will be huge. People are going to complain initially because it's not what they expected, but Apple knows what they are doing. Really.

This is not an evolution of the iPod or iPhone. This is an evolution of the laptop for certain classes of users.”

In a poll on the cultofmac.com website of what the iPad's most significant missing feature is, 43 per cent believe that it is multi-tasking, 32 per cent said a camera function, while 19 per cent said USB, firewire or SD ports. Four per cent said HD support, while two per cent said MagSafe Power.

Alan Goode, managing director at Goode Intelligence, said: “I think the announcement I was looking for was upgrade to the iPhone operating system. I was looking for iPhone OS4 and better security in the platform.

“It is interesting that it is using iPhone OS3 which has security concerns such as no security APIs, is it able to run anti-virus? I think it can run anti-virus but no vendors have an iPhone product as it cannot hook into the operating system.

“Also I do not think that it can run Snow Leopard or the Mac OS. It can run a browser and email but there is no encryption or endpoint security, so there is a question mark on the platform. So it is questionable on security and whether it can run in the enterprise.”

Gartner's Mark McDonald, said: “People will talk about the lack of a mouse, keyboard, etc. They will say for all its size it still is not a phone. All true but all increasingly irrelevant, I would not carry this form factor for my cell phone – that is what the iPhone is for.

“However I would carry this around the house and on the road to surf the web, read books, listen to music, watch movies etc. Will I still have a Mac, yes as I need that for heavy duty work for business, but personally this would be a great substitute and device while waiting in airports, on the road or just relaxing.

“So great job Apple, not with the technology per se, yes it's a big iPhone, but with the implications this technology has on the current computing models and as a place for future innovation.”

Apple also released a new Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPad that will allow developers to create new applications that are designed to take advantage of the iPad's capabilities. The SDK includes a simulator that lets developers test and debug their iPad apps on a Mac, and also lets developers create universal applications that run on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

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