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About iPad

In basic terms, the iPad is a tablet or "slate" computer. Upon the release of the original iPad, Apple formally declared that it is a "magical and revolutionary" device for "browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading e-books and more."

Although "magical" might be a bit much, the iPad definitely is a new type of product.

Software Support & Lineage

Specifically, Apple originally designed the iPad to occupy a new product category between the iPod touch/iPhone and the Mac, and consequently, it is really neither an iPod or iPhone nor a Mac.

However, it does run a version of the same operating system as the iPod touch and iPhone. Likewise, the iPad is compatible with the vast majority of applications written for the iPhone and iPod touch as well, it is not unreasonable to consider it a member of the iPhone/iPod touch "family" of products.

The iPad does not run Mac OS X or Mac OS X applications, so it is not Mac, although the iOS is derived from Mac OS X.

Additional Usage

In addition to its original list of "official" uses, the iPad also can be used like a basic computer with the original external keyboard dock accessory (above, subsequently discontinued) or any number of Bluetooth wireless keyboards.

When combined with the iWork software Pages, the external keyboard capability makes it possible to comfortably compose full documents on the iPad, which can then be saved in Pages, Word, or PDF format and printed, if needed. Spreadsheets and presentations, likewise, can be prepared with versions of the Numbers and Keynote applications from the iWork suite and saved in either native formats or in Excel or PowerPoint, respectively. Native versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are available now, too.

Software Support & Lineage

Of course, the iPad can be used for any number of other tasks by taking advantage of thousands of third-party apps. Like an iPod or iPhone, the iPad models also can be synchronized with a compatible Mac or Windows PC, if desired.

Later iPad models, especially the iPad Pro line, have been created with the production of creative content -- music, photos, and video -- very much in mind, and elevate the iPad to the level of a definite competitor with "traditional" computers.

Key features and benefits of the Apple iPad

• The iPad uses the same operating system as the Apple iPhone, and uses very similar hardware. It is, however, much more powerful and capable than the smaller device.
• The iPad is perfect for browsing the web while lounging around, particularly because it comes with a wifi connection as standard. You can also buy, for a bit extra, a 4G version, which allows you to connect to the internet wherever you are.
• The iPad can access the Apple 'App Store', where you can purchase and download any of over one million applications, with over 700,000 made specifically for the iPad and more than 400,000 designed specifically for the iPad’s larger screen

Software Support & Lineage

• As well as the regular apps, Apple has also made iPad versions of its iWork, iMovie and GarageBand programs. Though they're pared down from what's available in the Mac computer versions, they're still very capable, and the iPad's touchscreen interface makes them easy to use.
• The iPad does many things well and it's cheaper than a Mac computer. However, it really isn't a replacement for the latter (or, for that matter, for a PC) if you need to do a lot of writing.

Versions of the iPad

There are multiple versions of iPad products. Each version of the iPad also has multiple generations, introducing new features and specifications with each release.
• iPad - The traditional iPad was first introduced in 2010 and featured a 9.7-inch display.
• iPad Mini - The iPad Mini was first introduced in 2012 and is a more compact version of the iPad, featuring a 7.8-inch display.
• iPad Air - Initially released in 2013, the iPad Air is a version of the iPad with a thinner and lighter design.
• iPad Pro - The iPad Pro was introduced in 2015, marketed as a tool for artists and other professional users. iPad Pro devices are available with either a 9.7-inch or 12.9-inch display.