Information and specifications on the Apple iPad including accessibility features for persons with disabilities.
The iPad is a tablet computer developed by Apple Inc. Announced on January 27, 2010, it is considered to be in a category between the smartphone and the laptop computer. Reaction to Apple's new iPad is mixed, with some technology sites praising it while others are a little more reserved in their enthusiasm.
Information to hand states the Apple iPad has a 9.7-inch screen, weighs 1.5 pounds, Wi-Fi with a 3G option, and up to 10 hours of battery life. The iPad runs the iPhone OS and "almost all" iPhone apps and uses the ePub format for books.
The iPad's chip runs at 1GHz, compared to the estimated 600MHz (0.6GHz) of the iPhone 3GS. The A4 is billed as "the most advanced chip" Apple has created yet. The A4 chip is so power efficient that it helps iPad get up to 10 hours of battery life," according to Apple's iPad Web page.
There are already over a thousand apps (applications) designed specifically for the iPad, with more being released every day. In addition the Apple iPad can run almost all the 150,000 apps created for the iPhone and iPod touch.
The new Apple iPad enables you to visit online websites, write an email, flick through photos, or watch your favorite movies on a big Multi-Touch screen, with just the touch of your finger. The touchscreen is a 25-cm (9.7-in) liquid crystal display (1024 x 768 px, 132 ppi, XGA) with oleophobic scratch-resistant glass. Like the iPhone, the iPad is designed to be controlled by bare fingers, not gloves and styluses that prevent electrical conductivity.
The built-in Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR chipset supports the HSP, A2DP, and HID profiles, which allows wireless headphones and keyboards to be used with the iPad. The iPad won't just be an e-book Internet reader like the Kindle and Sony Reader. It's sure to be a terrific media player or widescreen iPod.
iPad Accessibility Features:
Accessibility list from the Apple iPad Specifications Page (www.apple.com/ipad/specs/)
VoiceOver screen reader
Support for playback of closed-captioned content
Full-screen zoom magnification
White on black high contrast screen
iPad comes standard with accessibility features that help people with disabilities experience all that it has to offer including a screen reader, support for playback of closed-captioned content, and other innovative universal access features. These features make iPad easier to use for people who have a vision impairment, are deaf or hard of hearing, or have a physical or learning disability.
VoiceOver - Like the Apple iPhone and iPod touch, the iPad includes VoiceOver, a gesture-based screen reader for the blind. Instead of memorizing keyboard commands or pressing tiny arrow keys, you simply touch the screen to hear a description of the item under your finger, then double-tap, drag, or flick to control iPad. VoiceOver speaks 21 languages and works with all of the applications built into iPad.
Zoom Feature - Zoom on iPad lets you magnify the entire screen of any application. Zoom up to five times the normal size and move left, right, up, and down to view any portion of the screen close up.
Closed Captioning - Every iPad can display subtitles and closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing when playing movies and podcasts that support it. Movies and podcasts with closed captioning are available on the iTunes Store and can be downloaded directly to iPad or synced to iPad using iTunes.
Mono Audio - If your hearing is limited in one ear, tap a checkbox to route both right- and left-channel audio into both headphones, so you can hear both channels in either ear.
Contrast - If you want higher contrast, iPad lets you change the display to white on black. Use the White on Black feature in any application, as well as the Home, Unlock, and Spotlight screens, and with Zoom and VoiceOver.
The iPad comes with these applications: Safari, Mail, Photos, Video, YouTube, iPod, iTunes Store, App Store, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, and Spotlight. The iPad syncs with iTunes on a Mac or Windows PC. Apple ported its iWork suite from the Mac to the iPad, and sells the Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps in the App Store. Although the iPad is not designed to replace a cellphone, a user can pair it with a Bluetooth headset and place phone calls over Wi-Fi or 3G using a VoIP application.
Current iPad Accessories Include:
iPad Keyboard Dock with hardware keyboard, 30-pin connector, and audio jack
iPad Case which can be used to stand the iPad in various positions
iPad Dock with 30-pin connector and audio jack
iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter for external monitor or projector
iPad Camera Connection Kit including a USB Type A connector adapter and an SD card reader, for transferring photos and videos
iPad 10W USB Power Adapter with 2A (10W)
Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad from U.S. customers on March 12, 2010. The Wi-Fi version of the iPad went on sale in the United States on April 3, 2010, at 9:00 am local time, with hundreds of customers lined up outside stores nationwide.
The Wi-Fi + 3G version will be released at the end of April. The iPad will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK beginning in late April. 3G service in the United States will be provided by AT&T and sold with two prepaid contract-free data plan options: one for unlimited data and the other for 250 MB per month at half the price. The plans will be activated on the iPad itself and can be canceled at any time.
The Wi-Fi + 3G model includes a micro-SIM slot located on the side of the device. Unlike the iPhone, which is usually sold locked to specific carriers, the 3G iPad is sold unlocked and can be used with any compatible GSM carrier. However, the physical shape of the micro-SIM tray is too small to fit regular SIM cards, making it impossible for end users to use their existing carrier plans with the device.
Pricing for the iPad will be between $500 and $830, depending on configuration. The Apple iPad Wi-Fi models should start shipping worldwide in late March 2010 ($500 for 16GB version, $600 for 32GB, and $700 for 64GB). Apple has yet to release pricing on the iPad's accessories like the keyboard dock, iPad case and camera connector. The keyboard dock is especially important, since its price may be a deciding factor for people who want to travel with the iPad instead of a netbook.
The National Federation of the Blind commended Apple Inc. for including its VoiceOver application on its latest device, the iPad. VoiceOver is a screen access application that uses text-to-speech technology in conjunction with the device's touch-screen interface so that blind people can independently operate the device. VoiceOver is also integrated into Apple's Mac operating system and is included on the iPhone 3GS and recent models of the iPod Touch.
Blind consumers, like our sighted friends and colleagues, will be able to share in the experience of using this new device from the moment we take it out of the box. By integrating accessibility into its products, Apple is setting an example that we believe the rest of the electronics industry should follow. Furthermore, the fact that Apple has successfully integrated a screen access solution with its touch-screen technology demonstrates that touch screens need not be a barrier to the use of electronic devices by the blind.
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