Ramy Zabarah, Broadside Correspondent

Attention all Mac-heads! Like your MacBook? Can’t go an hour without playing with your iPhone? As I’m sure you’ve already heard, a new flower is emerging from the very fruitful garden of Apple, Inc.

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, Steve Jobs and the rest of the Apple crew held a conference in San Fransisco, Calif. to unveil their latest product, the iPad.

After weeks of speculation as to the actual existence of Apple’s new mysterious product, the announcement was finally made, and the iPad will be in stores toward the end of May.

Expected to kick tart the market for tablet computers, the iPad is like a supersized iPod Touch with more similarities to an actual computer.

It will be a central portable device where you can store your music, photos, videos, e-mails, read books and surf the Internet with a much more intimate interface.

Portability is huge with the iPad. Although it’s essentially a plus-size iPod Touch, it can easily slide into your backpack or purse. Weighing in at about 1.5 pounds, you don’t really have to worry about carrying any extra baggage.

Also, its width and height dimensions are about 7 ½ by 9 ½ inches. To give you an idea, a piece of printer paper is about 8 ½ by 11 inches.

George Mason University sophomore and avid Apple product user Nick Wood is ecstatic about this gadget.
“I’m pretty excited about the iPad,” he said. “I’m a big fan of Apple’s intuitive simplicity and I’d like to have one so I can use my apps, watch movies and read books in a much better format than carrying around a laptop.”

Its multi-touch screen is basically like that of the iPhone, but reengineered to accommodate a larger screen, giving the user more accuracy and freedom.

The screen has an LED backlit display, giving it better resolution and a crisper image — better for watching movies and browsing the Internet.

The iPad will also serve as an E-book device. A market that has been mostly dominated by the Amazon Kindle over the past couple years is about to be rocked. The iBookstore, very similar to the iTunes store, will have E-books that you can buy and download straight to your library.

One of the iPad’s most appealing features is its 3G capability. With a subscription to a 3G network, you will be able to browse the Internet from anywhere there is service, not just where there is a WiFi connection.

The 3G plans will be $14.99 a month for 250 MB, which is ideal if you’re only going to be using it to access your e-mail, and $29.99 a month for unlimited data.

The plans will be given through AT&T, and are offered without a contract.

Prices for the iPad without 3G capabilities will be $499 for the 16 GB model, $599 for the 32 GB model, and $699 for the 64 GB model.

The 3G iPads will be $629, $729 and $829 respectively. WiFi capability comes standard with all iPads.