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Live Blog From Apple's iPad Launch

Being one of the lucky few to have scored a press pass into Apple's highly secretive launch event today, I will be live blogging the announcement with text and photos as it happens. So, starting at around 11:30 AM ET, be sure to refresh this blog entry (and refresh often) as I frantically attempt to bring you all there is to know about Apple's tablet (or whatever it is) in real time.
Being one of the lucky few to have scored a press pass into Apple's highly secretive launch event today, I will be live blogging the announcement with text and photos as it happens. So, starting at around 11:30 AM ET, be sure to refresh this blog entry (and refresh often) as I frantically attempt to bring you all there is to know about Apple's tablet (or whatever it is) in real time.

11:30AM EST I've been in line since 8 AM PT here at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, standing in an unusually rainless day, waiting for one of the most talked-about, leaked-about product launches in modern technology history.

People in Line
(click image for larger view)
People In Line
On Apple's earnings call, Apple COO Tim Cook kept telling inquiring analysts "We don't want to spoil the surprise." So I wait for surprises, half cynically thinking they've already all been written, half hoping for something grand and bold; not that what we've heard isn't that, but just grander and bolder.

So much foreplay.

11:40 AM EST Still a half hour before they let us in and the crowd here has thickened considerably. Satellite trucks are everywhere, cops and Apple minions ushering everyone away from the street. And lots of talk about Jason Calcanis' leaks last night on Twitter, some incredulous, some believe he's making it all up. Big TV cameras. Big still cameras. iphones snapping away. Tablet tease.

Dell Releases Teaser Photos Of Adamo XPS
(click image for larger view)
Crowds Thicken

11:52 AM EST Just ran into Om Malik in the media line. We were talking about what market this device will serve. Apple devotee? Consumer/entertainment? Education? I still maintain this can be a great all-in-one executive tool, especially if it has video ichat and a useful input mechanism. They are now starting to let us into the building.

12:05 PM EST They've merely moved us into a holding area with "danish" cuisine and coffee. Some media veterans are informing the younger ones exactly how this event is going to go.

12:15 PM EST Ok, this waiting is getting old. Foreplay done. Time to...Enter.

 

Equipped

(click image for larger view)
Equipped
 

12:17 PM EST One of the main new pieces of information Jason Calcanis revealed (if he was telling the truth) is a solar pad for recharging the battery. This is being talked about amongst the crowd here. Most believe that to be preposterous. Also that it will have 2 cameras. Some aren't sure it will have ANY, but I would be surprised at that.

 

Om Malik

Om Malik
 

12:37 PM EST Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg from Wall Street Journal, Steve Levy from Wired. The whole gang is here! Let us in so we can hog the wifi.

 

Waiting At The Door

Waiting At The Door
 

12:52 PM EST Finally sitting down. It is an auditorium. Beautiful. Lots of colors and Apple art work. They are playing Mr. Tambourine Man, by Bob Dylan.

 

Apple Art Everywhere

Apple Art Everywhere
 

12:54 PM EST There is one lonely chair up on stage on one side of the stage.

 

Lonley Chair

Lonley Chair
 

1:02 PM EST Standing ovation for Steve Jobs

1:03 PM EST A truly magical product today. but first a few updates. 250 million ipods sold.

 

Jobs, On Stage

Jobs, On Stage
 

1:04 PM ESTRetail stores: 50 million people have visited the stores.

1:06 PM EST 3 billionth app downloaded from the app store.

1:07 PM EST By revenue, the largest mobile device business in the world (Apple)

1:08 PM EST Talking about 1991, first apple laptop. 2007 apple reinvented the phone. Then came the iPhone 3GS "greatest phone in the world" Jobs said.

1:09 PM EST Everyone uses a laptop and/or a iphone...is there room for a 3rd device in the middle?

 

Jobs pokes fun at the press about the Apple Tablet.

Jobs pokes fun at the press about the announcement.
 

1:10 PM EST Must browse, email, photo, video, music games, ebooks. Some people have thought it was a Netbook. The problem is that Netbooks aren't better at anything. Slow, PC Software. Bad images. Just cheap laptops.

1:11 PM EST We think we've got something better: The ipad.

 

The Tablet Looking At A Web Page

The iPad
 

1:13 PM EST Thin. Can change the background screen, make it anything you want. What it does is extraordinary. You can browse the web. Best browsing experience you've ever had.

1:15 PM EST You can turn it around anyway you want. Great for e-mail. Yeah yeah. Great. Web. Mail. A keyboard that is almost life sized. Great photos. Slide shows built in.

1:16 PM EST Build in calendar. Google maps. Enjoy your music collection. iTunes store built right into the iPad.

Movies, tv shows, iTunes university -- all there. YouTube and in Hi Def.

 

Jobs With iPad in Hand

Jobs With iPad in Hand
 

1:18 PM EST now he will demo it

so much more intimate that a laptop and more capable than a phone.

He's doing a demo of it, scrolling around a web page on the NY TImes.

 

The Tablet Looking At A Web Page

The Tablet Looking At A Web Page
 

Now onto Time Magazine web site.

This is really mostly what you can do on the iPhone (or any smart phone), just a nicer bigger experience.

National Geographic now. Showing some of the imagery.

Web browsing. So 2005.

Now he'll demonstrate email.

Again, a much better viewing experience. He still hasn't talked about the screen size, resolution, touch features, size/weight of the device.

Looks like 10 inches from where I'm sitting.

1:20 PM EST In e-mail with the bigger screen real estate, you can do more than you can on an iPhone. Great photo viewing interface. Little scroll bar of images you can whip through very fast.

1:21 PM EST And you can link to a map so you can see photos that you took in a particular place.

 

Photo Interface

Photo Interface
 

Built in slide shows.

Put your music to the slide shows. Nice -- very easy to just select a song and attach it to the slide show.

1:22 PM EST The ease of doing this is what's interesting here, but not entirely unexpected. Now onto music. Built-in iPod. (BTW, I'm not seeing a camera.)

1:23 PM EST iTunes store now. He says it's "built right in" but I'm not really sure what that means. Why wouldn't it be?

Calendar. Of course, easy to see an entire month's view. Bigger device, bigger view. We get it.

Contacts. Yes.

Now onto the Maps app.

 

Steve Jobs Using the iPad

Steve Jobs Using the iPad
 

Tap the corner of the page. Pinch it to zoom in. Here, he shows Eiffel Tower.

1:26 PM EST Showing us our current location.

The virtual keyboard looks huge & simple. Still not saying whether there's a change in how the keyboard feels.

Video...showing YouTube.

He Keeps saying "it just all works." Why wouldn't it?

1:27 PM EST Showing a Star Trek movie now. You can scrub through not just to chapters but to a point in the movie you want to watch.

1:27 PM EST Awesome movie, he says, of 'Up.' Chuckle.

 

Showing Up (movie) in high quality.

Showing "Up" (movie) in high quality.
 

1:29 PM EST And that ends his little overview.

1/2 half inch thin.

Thinner and lighter than any netbook, he says.