Sitting on stage in a cozy leather chair, Jobs demonstrated how the iPad is used for surfing the Web with Apple's Safari browser. The CEO typed an e-mail using an on-screen keyboard and flipped through photo albums by flicking his finger across the screen. He also showed off a new electronic book store and a book-reading interface that emulates the look of a paper book, putting the iPad in competition with Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle and other e-book readers.
Like iPods and the iPhone, the iPad can sync with Apple's Macintosh and Microsoft's Windows computers. Jobs said the iPad will also be better for playing games and watching video than either a laptop or a smart phone. Software coming with the iPad includes a calendar, maps, a video player and iPod software for playing music. All seem to have been slightly redesigned to take advantage of the iPad's bigger screen.
Tablet computers have existed for a decade, with little success. Jobs acknowledged Apple will have to work to convince consumers who already have smart phones and laptops that they need this gadget.
“In order to really create a new category of devices, those devices are going to have to be far better at doing some key tasks,” Jobs said. “We think we've got the goods. We think we've done it.”
Applications designed for the iPhone can run on the iPad. Apple is also releasing updated tools for software developers to help them build iPhone and iPad programs.
“We think it's going to be a whole ‘nother gold rush for developers as they build applications for the iPad,” said Scott Forstall, an iPhone software executive.
A new newspaper reader program from The New York Times and a game from Electronic Arts Inc. were also demonstrated during the event. The audience, which included many journalists and bloggers, clapped and even gave Jobs a standing ovation.
Shares in Apple rose $2.04, or 1 percent, to close Wednesday at $207.98. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company's shares have more than doubled over the past year, partly on anticipation of the tablet computer. Shares in Amazon rose $3.27, or 2.7 percent, to $122.75.
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