The iPad is a tablet computer developed by Apple. It is smaller than a typical laptop, but significantly larger than the average smartphone. The iPad does not include a keyboard or a trackpad, but instead has a touchscreen interface, which is used to control the device.
Like the iPhone, the iPad runs Apple's iOS operating system. This allows the iPad to run third-party apps, which can downloaded from Apple's App Store. While apps designed for the iPhone can also be installed and run on the iPad, many iOS apps are developed specifically for the iPad. Since the iPad's screen is much larger than the iPhone's screen, iPad apps can include more user interface features that would not fit within an iPhone app. Therefore, productivity, graphics, and video-editing apps are often developed specifically for the iPad rather than the iPhone.
The iPad's 9.7 in screen size also makes it ideal as an e-reader. The iBooks app allows you to download electronic versions of books from the iBookstore and read them on your iPad. Since the iPad has a full color screen, it supports novels as well as art books and illustrated children's stories. Books can be read one page at a time in portrait mode or with pages side by side in landscape mode.
All versions of the iPad include Wi-Fi capability, which can be used for surfing the Web, checking email, and downloading apps directly to the device. Some versions of the iPad also include 3G support for transferring data over a cellular connection, though this capability requires a monthly cellular service contract. While the original iPad did not include a camera, the iPad 2 includes both rear-facing and front-facing cameras. These cameras can be used for video conferencing with other iPad, iPhone, or Mac users via the FaceTime feature.
Updated: March 9, 2011