iPad or iBrick?

So, Steve Jobs of Apple announced their new tablet product today. The fact that it features on the US Apple website but not on the UK site is probably not good news for the UK’s early adopters. Rumours are June/July but I wouldn’t hold your breath. The product itself is…hmmm… interesting.

Here is the spec of the $499 basic model – essentially an iPod Touch on steroids:

9.7″ multi-touch display
1/2″ thick
Weight 1.5lbs
16 GB flash memory
Single speaker (ie not stereo)
Optional keyboard

For another $130 you will be able to buy a model that is in effect an iPhone on steroids – it comes with 3G. There are also options for 32Gb and 64Gb of flash memory on both models. The highest spec model will cost $829. You might note the lack of GPS or a camera, which both seems pretty unforgivable at the price.

So those are the headlines. But what is the device for? Well it is obviously going to be good for web surfing – except that it lacksFlash – and publishers are getting excited about selling you magazines or your daily paper without their having to bother with all that messy ink. But is it too heavy for the intended market? 1.5lbs isn’t far off the weight of a netbook – which would come with a proper keyboard, two speakers, a webcam and a lot more storage.

Yes, the iPad will weigh more than the average newspaper or magazine but guess what? It weighs exactly the same as a copy of today’s London Times plus the latest edition of UK Wired. How did Steve know that??