Today, Apple will announce its "latest creation" at a special event at the Yerba Buena centre for the Arts Theatre in San Francisco, California. And Kotaku is there! What will Apple announce? And what will it mean for gaming?
Those questions may already be answered in our up to the second liveblog coverage of Apple's special event. Or they may already be answered by the various executives who have begun to spill beans on Apple's new tablet PC, which everyone is expecting the Mac maker to unveil at this morning's invite-only event. Can it possibly live up to the hype?
The only way to know for sure is to read our liveblog of said event.
Jobs announces the iPad. Looks like a bigger iPhone, with portrait and landscape orientation. Typing on it "is a dream."
iTunes built into the iPad. Lets you watch movies, listen to music, "browsing is a dream."
Jobs loads up the New York Times. He's sitting on the couch! Scrolling up and down, zooming in, touch on news stories. It all looks very iPhone-esque.
"I can browse around the NY Times so easily." Jobs says.
Jobs goes to Time magazine's web site. Clicking through, browsing, all through a familiar Safari interface. He moves on to Fandango. "The whole web site in the palm of your hands." Now onto National Geographic.
Steve's still zipping around, touching pictures of animals. The device he's holding looks comfortable to hold, nicely sized for personal browsing.
Jobs moves onto his e-mail client. List view of messages a la iPhone on the left, preview pane of email on the right.
Opens up a PDF in email client, looking at Napa Valley winery map. "That's how simple mail is." He responds to an e-mail with a virtual keyboard, one that looks a billion times nicer (and useful) than the iPhone's.
Steve moves onto photo browsing, with a nice grid of photos, albums, and more than can be flicked through or blown up.
Jobs pulls up a Google Map with geotagged photo locations. Pulls up an album from Paris from the map. Kicks things into slideshow mode with music playing alongside an animated slideshow.
Opinion time. This thing looks really sharp, easy to use like an iPhone. Still waiting for Jobs to price and date the iPad, offer something my MacBook and iPod don't do.
Steve kicks open iTunes, playing some Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan, browsing through library, moving around very quickly. Obligatory John Mayer appearance.
iPad's calendar and contacts lists may not be sexy, but they work well. Steve doesn't spend much time on that, instead moving on to Maps.
Pulls up Google Maps, finding a sushi restaurant, then moving into a very clear Street View. Now, onto video. Steve pulls up some YouTube videos, specifically "Wet and Woofy" a surfboarding dog. Even Steve sounds surprised by the video quality.
He shifts to a downloaded version of JJ Abrams' Star Trek in iTunes. Video quality looks sharp on the big screen. Then onto Up, one of Steve's favorite movies for obvious reasons.
Steve wraps up his iPad demo, giving us "an idea of what the iPad can do."
"Watching it is nothing like holding it in your hands." So Steve starts to talk about the hardware. It's 0.5 inches thin and weighs just 1.5 pounds.
9.7" screen with IPS display technology and full capacitive multi-touch.
iPad is powered by custom silicon a 1Ghz Apple A4 chip. iPad has 16 to 64 GB of built-in Flash memory. Features wi-fi 802.11n, accelerometer, compass and connectivity to iPods.
Steve boasts up to 10 hours worth of battery life (with over a month of standby battery life). He says he can take a flight to Tokyo and watch video the entire time.
Jobs also brags about the environmental concessions and recyclability of the iPad, which will please Al Gore to no end.
Steve departs to let Scott Forstall take over to talk about the App Store.
"We've built the iPad to run iPhone apps out of the box." They can run at normal tiny resolution or blown up. Scott shows a screen full of iPhone apps running on the iPad, selects Facebook.
Blows it up to 2X resolution, going full screen.
Now, onto the games! Yay! Oh, it's ESPN's X Games Snocross iPhone game, currently running in native resolution in the center of the iPad's screen.
"This is an OpenGL game, it really pushes the hardware." It's unmodified, right off the App Store. He's using the accelerometer to tilt and control, just like on an iPhone.
Games are "smooth and incredibly fun."
Forstall says that Apple rewrote each of its apps built for the iPhone interface to work better on the iPad. They've updated the SDK for App Store development to include the iPad. They're releasing it today.
"We're going to take and highlight each of the apps built for the iPad on the App Store." Apple putting iPad software front and center, but not limiting iPhone app accessibility via iTunes.
Gameloft is about to take the stage, talking about iPad game support.
Mark Hickey takes the stage, talking about the iPad version of NOVA, they're Halo like iPhone game.
Gameloft has added customized control layouts to the iPad version of NOVA, along with gesture controls, including a two finger swipe to throw grenades for example. He also shows a screen-wide grid that can be overlaid on the playfield, tapping on enemies in a slow motion attack.
"The form factor opens up so many new doors for us" Hickey says, promising NOVA for iPad later this year.
Martin Nisenholtz from the New York Times takes the stage to talk about the newspaper's contribution to the iPad. They're showing off a front page version of the NYT on the iPad, looks very much like a newspaper, with type intact and a simple interface for moving through pages, sections, etc.
Lets you add columns, resize text and jump to photo galleries. Looks incredibly sharp.
"It's everything you love about the paper. Everything you love about the web and everything you expect from the New York Times."
Scott returns to show off Brushes, currently an iPhone painting application. It's a one-person "shop," Steve Sprang, the Brushes developer. He's about to show off the iPad version, highlighting a couple of New Yorker covers designed with Brushes.
Brushes lets you fingerpaint on the iPad, with layers, color palettes, brushes (natch) and opacity. Zoom in, tap and hold for an eyedropper, paint with your finger.
On the iPad, Brushes saves "replays" of your paintings, letting the viewer watch their progress as video. Really neat.
Electronic Arts is about to take the stage to talk about their iPad plans. Her comes Travis Boatman.
They're showing off an iPad version of Need For Speed: Shift. Looks like a much higher res version of an iPhone game, but it takes advantage of screen real estate. Tap on the car to get an in cockpit view, tap on the rear view mirror to see behind you.
"Expect a lot more from EA soon." Boatman promises.
And speaking of games, here comes Major League Baseball. Chad Evans from MLB.com is here to show something.
Showing a live tracker, with pitch by pitch updates, player cards, live scores running across the top of the screen and video, with all that other stuff layered on top of full screen video. Looks amazing and brilliantly interactive.
Scott returns, basically calling the death of the transistor radio at baseball games. It will be replaced by the iPad.
Steve is back on stage to talk about one of Apple's newest apps, the iPad's e-reader. He's showing an Amazon Kindle on screen, then the iBooks app. Features a virtual bookshelf, with a Store button in the upper left.
Yes, there is an Apple iBooks store, one that looks just like iTunes. Publishers Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillian and Hachette are already on board with their books.
Steve's browsing through the iBooks store, previewing Ted Kennedy's "True Compass," reading reviews, looking at previews, then purchasing, adding the book to his iBook shelf. It's iNeat. Steve's flipping through the book, page by page, which is beautifully animated, hitting up the table of contents to move around.
You can change the font-size, the font, "whatever you want."
iBooks will use the ePub format. "The iPad will be a terrific e-book reader," for text books as well.
Now, onto iWork. Boo! More games, please, less work!
Phil Schiller, SVP of product marketing and former keynote leader, is here to talk about iWork. Non-Mac users may want to make a sandwich while Phil pimps iWork. Hopefully, the pricing and availability of the iPad will be here soon after.
Hey, at least iWork on the iPad looks cool, with Pages, Numbers and Keynote looking initially workable on Apple's tablet. Phil's firing up Keynote for the iPad, the kind of thing that will get slide makers hot and bothered.
Slide navigator on the left in a column, preview pane on the right. It's a familiar interface. Nice slide rearrangement in the left column that lets users move slides a la rearranging iPhone apps on various screens. A lot of this interface will be familiar to iPhone users.
Phil's talking up Keynote's animations and transitions, all with touch-based screen controls.
Now onto Pages. If you like creating resumes or templates, you're going to love Pages. The pop-up on screen keyboard looks totally usable, giving iPad users the option to realistically write and edit on a touchscreen. The audience just applauded the type auto-wrapping that surrounded a giraffe's head in a Pages document.
Numbers now. Perhaps for your upcoming message board argument about video game console sales? It might be worth investing in an iPad so you can do this anywhere. Pie charts, columns, spreadsheets.... not as interesting as the pop-up onscreen keyboard, calendar and calculator in Numbers.
Cut, copy and paste (and now fill, for Numbers, anyway) look exactly the same as they do on the iPhone.
Phil has set aside his iPad and iWork. Now he's going to price iWork. Each app is $9.99 USD, hopefully indicative of iPad app pricing.
Steve returns to talk about iTunes on the iPad. Sync up photos, music, movies, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, apps as you would your iPod or iPhone on your Mac or PC.
Now onto wireless networking. Every iPad has WiFi built-in. Some models will have 3G data options. How much do those iPad data plans cost?
1. Up to 250 MB of data per month for $14.99. 2. Unlimited data for $29.99.
That is via AT&T, unfortunately, with free use of AT&T WiFi hotspot access thrown in. Data plan fees are prepaid with no contract.
That's for the United States. Jobs says that Apple will have its international deals worked out by June.
iPad 3G models are unlocked and use new GSM micro SIMs.
Steve says it's "phenomenal" to hold the web in your hand. He loves the email, the photos, the access to music and video collections.
It runs "almost all" 140,000 apps on the App Store.
Here comes the price. "If you listen to the pundits" it's $999. But that's not the price apparently.
Jobs says it's priced aggressively. The iPad will "start at $499 USD.
WiFi only models are: $499 - 16GB $599 - 32GB $699 - 64 GB
WiFi + 3G models are: $629 - 16GB $729 - 32GB $829 - 64 GB
iPad ships in 60 days. That's for the WiFi only models. 3G enabled models hit in 90 days.
The iPad will have a picture frame like dock to charge it, so that you can display the device on a table. There's also a keyboard style dock, letting you type with a physical keyboard while charging the device.
There's also a "really nice" case, that lets you prop up the iPad at an angle to type or display like a picture frame.
The official iPad beauty video is now playing. I don't see a camera on there at all. Guess that limits some of the apps that will work with the iPad. Most of the video is showing off better edited demonstrations of what Phil and Steve showed off on stage.
"Sent from my iPad" is the new "Sent from my iPhone."
Maps do look really good, as does the iBook store.
"There's going to be a whole new goldrush for app developers." That's the second time we've heard that developing for the iPad will reap untold riches for software makers.
After the summary commercial, Steve Jobs returns to the stage. "Let's go back to the beginning. Do we have what it takes to establish a third category of products?"
"We think we got the goods. We think we've done it. We are so excited about this product." Over 75 million people that already know how to use the iPad, Steve claims. Apple also has 125 million accounts (with credit cards) that will work across iTunes, App Store and iBook store.
"We've always tried to be at the intersection between technology and liberal arts. To get the best of both. To make extremely advance products, but also make the intuitive... fun to use." Steve says.
We're about to go get our hands all over the iPad in the "Hands-on Area." We'll let you know if we love the iPad as much as Apple does.
Makeshift liveblog over! Thanks for joining us. Be right back with hands-on impressions and more.