It's just 25 days 'til iPad arrives on sale in some global locations, and the fever's mounting. To spur it on, Apple pushed its first ad during the Oscars, which Steve Jobs was at. He's also been emailing fans to confirm some details too.
The Oscars, like 'em or loathe 'em, count as one of the most viewed TV events around the World...making them an absolutely perfect platform for Apple to tease its upcoming tablet PC. The glamor, the glitz, the very media-centric nature of the show all tie in sweetly with the iPad phenomenon. And it all acts to accelerate the typical pre-launch hype Apple uses to get everyone excited in the several months between it launches a new product and it arriving on sale.
When he launched the iPad back in January, Steve did a neat job of showing the World how cool the device is (without having to resort to his trademark "Boom!" either) but he also kept a lot of information back, leaving plenty of room for rumors. And for Apple to maybe add in some surprising "extra" features before it actually launches—just as it did for the iPhone.
One of the key features that Jobs (and Apple, on the iPad Web page) omitted was details on iPad 3G tethering to supply mobile Net to a PC. We know the iPhone can do it (mine's happily connected up right now to write this piece in fact—but then I am not in the U.S. with your ever-so-friendly AT&T) and the assumption as soon as we learned the iPad ran iPhone OS was that it would be able to too. Sure enough, code fragments inside the SDK have revealed it to be true—and frankly, it's not surprising.
But what we didn't know is if the iPad Wi-fi version could tether to a 3G iPhone. This concept also makes sense on a practical level, as who'd want to pay for two 3G connections if you're carrying both devices frequently? Well, we now know that lots of people will have to do this—Steve just did one of his famous short emails to answer a question that a member of the public in Sweden put to him on this very matter. And all Steve said in response was "No," the iPad won't tether to an iPhone.
It's a shame, but it's probably a feature of business negotiations with 3G carriers who are concerned about potential lost revenue and network over-loading. Will this news play into user's decisions on which iPad version to buy? It's definitely influenced mine.
Another little gem Steve revealed by email (from his iPad—neat!) answered a question concerning the claimed 10 hour life of the iPad. The figure seems phenomenal—and it's been used as part of the long running Flash fiasco—and it's a key statistic in the iPad's battle to steal some of the Amazon Kindle's market, with its huge battery life.
So, when a skeptic quizzed Steve about the matter, he felt the need to step in: "... yes we are getting 10 hours in 1.5 pounds" of iPad weight. Of course, no one apart from Apple employees have really put the figure to the test yet, since nobody has gotten their hands on one for long enough. Only then will we see if the figures ring true. And for Apple's sake they better had, since all this hype will result in one or two (almost inevitable) class action law suits.
As soon as the iPad's screen size was confirmed, it was clear that it'd be even more perfect as a gaming platform than the iPhone or iPod Touch—all that extra real-estate and resolution is just asking to be exploited. And now Secret Exit has revealed screenshots of its iPad version of the runaway iPhone success story Zen Bound, and they look utterly gorgeous. They're also the first big screenshots of an iPad-only game.
Zen Bound 2 does lend itself perfectly to the touchscreen and accelerometers in the device, of course. And though it's beautiful, it's hardly graphically intense. So we've yet to see how the iPad's A4 processor copes with serious 3-D graphics. It won't be long though.
To learn more about iPad as its launch date approaches, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.