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The iPad's here, now what?

April 2, 2010 07:03 AM ET

Does my iPad have a hard drive? Negative.

Instead, it uses NAND-based memory to duplicate the functions of a spinning hard disk, which would suck up enough power to send battery miser Steve Jobs over the edge. All your applications, videos, photographs, downloaded music, movies, television programs and other data goes into the flash memory.

Depending on how much money you decided to throw at Apple, your iPad has 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage space. Each step up costs you $100.

Compared to a new Mac or PC, the iPad's storage is Lilliputian: The low-end MacBook Pro, for example, has a 160GB hard drive, while the cheapest iMac sports 500GB. But it's in line with the capacity of its closest cousin, the dinky iPod Touch.

Can I print from the iPad? No. Apple didn't stick a USB port in the tablet.

You'll have to shunt what you want to a print to a PC or Mac using e-mail, or sync the iPad using iTunes or MobileMe, then print from there.

I want to read some books. What do I do? Apple's supposed to add its free iBook app to the App Store on Saturday. Install it and you'll be able to purchase e-books from the limited stock -- limited compared to Amazon.com's e-book inventory, at least -- that Apple has put together for the launch.

Last week, Amazon announced it would rewrite its Kindle software -- already available for the iPhone, as well as for the Mac and PC -- for the iPad, but it didn't disclose a date. As of late Thursday, the Kindle iPad app hadn't appeared.

And how does the iPad do as an e-reader? We don't know yet. We haven't put hands to one long enough to find out. So no comment for now. Wouldn't be prudent.

Can I watch movies, TV? Of course.

You can rent movies or purchase television episodes from iTunes, or, if you're a Netflix member, download the free app to stream movies and TV shows to your iPad.

ABC has also posted viewing software (ABC Player) on the App Store, the only major television network to have done so by late Thursday.



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