And they're off! The iPad hits the streets, as Agam Shah of IDG News Service reports today:
Lines formed outside the Apple store in New York with customers eager to purchase the product, which is one of the most hotly anticipated devices since the iPhone was launched in 2007. The lines weren't as long as they were for the iPhone, but buyers seemed ecstatic after getting the iPad in their hands.
An instructor at New York University, Matthew Knell, waited in line for a few hours to purchase the device. He plans to use the it for entertainment and to read e-books to replace loads of print textbooks he otherwise carries.
"It offers the opportunity to mix music, movies and books in one good personal-sized package. It does a lot of things the laptops do well, and it has the opportunity to change the way we consume media," Knell said.
The iPads that went on sale Saturday include Wi-Fi, and are priced ranging from US$499 to $699, depending on storage capabilities, which range from 16GB to 64GB. Models becoming available later this month will include 3G mobile broadband, and will cost from $629 to $829.
The device should be available worldwide by April, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during the device's launch event in late January.
AT&T will provide no-contract 3G service in the U.S., with a 250MB data plan costing $14.99 per month, and an unlimited plan costing $29.99. International deals for 3G services should be in place by June or July, the company has said.
The iPad has been called a supersized iPod Touch, with a 9.7-inch touchscreen and an on-screen keyboard for typing. The device runs on Apple's A4 chip and can play back 720p high-definition video. Apple's iWork productivity application is included for those who wish to create documents, spreadsheets or presentations.
Meanwhile, Serenity Caldwell of Macworld.com reports that NBC is rethinking a decision to stream full episodes to iPad users.
This weekend, developers, consumers, and companies will finally get entry to the iPad party. Unfortunately, there are still those uninterested in the affair--we've already seen companies like Random House hesitate. Now, NBC has announced its intention to keep full episodes of TV off the iPad--at least for the time being.
According to The New York Times, NBC last week showed a Times reporter an iPad-friendly version of its streaming-video site. At the end of this discussion, an NBC executive noted that full-episode streaming of popular shows was in the works and would be coming around late April.
But it was not to be. On Thursday, the Times reported that NBC had dropped all interest in full episode streaming "at this time," according to an anonymous NBC official.
Why the change of heart, especially considering the recent iPad app releases from fellow TV giant ABC and online rental company Netflix? It may be a purely financial decision, but this reporter suspects it may have more to do with NBC's involvement with Hulu, or its new parent company, Comcast. If Hulu is indeed planning on any sort of iPad paywall trial, it would be bad form to have the same content available elsewhere for free. Similarly, Comcast may want to avoid giving away content for free that it could otherwise bundle with its TV Everywhere service.
Alas, the end result: if you want to watch NBC on your iPad, you'll have to resort to alternative means such as iTunes for now.