FAQ: What we now know about the iPad

It's out, it has a name, and we have lots of details about Apple's tablet

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How big is the thing? Can I hold it in one hand? The 9.7-in. screen sets the format of the iPad, which by Apple's measurements is 9.6-in. high by 7.5-in. wide by 0.5-in. deep.

Since the iPad weighs in at 1.5 lb., several of the reporters and bloggers who got some hands-on time with it said they thought it was too heavy to hold long in one hand. In comparison, Amazon's Kindle is a 10.2-oz. device, and the larger Kindle DX, which has a screen the same size as the iPad's, weighs 1.2 lb.

"That's too much to hold up to your face while holding a strap when you're riding the subway," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research.

"You notice the heft as soon as you pick it up," chimed in Computerworld blogger Seth Weintraub, who had the iPad in his hands Wednesday. "It feels like you've ripped the top off a MacBook Pro and added some thickness to it."

How big is the screen? Apple stuck in a 9.7-in. LCD display with LED backlighting that uses IPS (in-plane switching) technology. The latter provides wider viewing angles and was also used in the revamped iMacs that debuted last October.

The iPad's screen resolution is 1024-by-768 pixels, and to many people's surprise, that's the standard television 4:3 aspect ratio (the width-to-height ratio), not the nearly-default widescreen format of 16:9 or 16:10 used in notebooks and computer displays today. Apple's new iMacs, for instance, offer a display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, while the company's MacBook notebooks use a 16:10 aspect ratio.

The lack of a widescreen-style display has some pundits ticking off the omission as one of the reasons why the iPad won't sell, or one of the reasons why they won't buy it. The 4:3 ratio has, in fact, made it on a number of "X Things That Suck About the iPad" posts.

How long will the battery last? Apple said 10 hours when viewing video, and a month when the iPad is on standby. Other than that, real-world numbers will have to wait until the tablet ships.

But one thing is certain, said Rapid Repair's Vronko: As an e-book reader, the iPad won't be able to touch the Kindle when it comes to time between charges.

The Apple iPad docking keyboard

The iPad's $69 docking keyboard is one product some people wish they'd had for their iPhones years ago.

Click to view larger image.

Although Vronko predicted last week that Apple would go with a power-efficient OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display rather than an LCD, he was wrong. "I said OLED or an LCD/e-paper hybrid like the one that Pixel Qi is supposed to have in quantity later this year," said Vronko, "because I thought a standard LCD would chew up too much battery life and hinder the usefulness of the tablet as an e-reader."

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