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Already a revolution, April 2010 saw the release of the converted iPad that has, in the space of three months, sold over 3 million units.

The iPad was released by the Apple company and is a form of tablet computer that is marketed towards the consumption of media, i.e. books, movies, music, games, web use and e-mail.

A somewhat larger version of the equally successful Apple iPhone, the iPad sits at 700 grams in size and weight, a somewhat intermediate between the majority of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers.

What is the iPad

Like its cousins the iPhone and iPod Touch, the iPad runs the same operating system, iPhone OS 3.2. It has been recently revealed that Fall 2010 will bring the iOS 4 operating system, which is rumoured to increase sales of the iPad by huge margins.

The interface is a multitouch display that is sensitive to fingertip contact, setting it aside from the other tablet computers that use stylus control. As well as the ability to utilise iPhone and iPod Touch applications (apps), the iPad is also enjoying a boom in iPad-specific apps that are creating an even bigger must-have status for the gadget.

To make use of these functions the iPad utilises Wi-Fi and 3G mobile data connectivity, allowing you access to the internet, load and stream media and install different software. Through USB connectivity you can sync the iPad with iTunes on your personal computer or laptop, allowing you to sync data from your computer's address book, contacts and media, i.e. music and video. This also allows you to manage the device and create a more personal and organised display.

The iPad is competing against some of the major players in electronics, generally due to its amazing abilities. It is obviously a rival in computers against laptops and other slate machines, however as it does not run an operating system such as Mac OSX and, at this moment in time, it does not have a suitable creative or productivity suite such as Microsoft Office or the Adobe suite, it is still a second-choice for those wanting a little more from a computer than just web browsing.

It is rivalling most music players both personal and hi-fi with the use of docks and headphone connectivity. Portable games consoles such as the Nintendo DS and PSP are also looking pale in comparison, with a huge range of games becoming available every day on the iPad. If you want a portable DVD/media player or e-book reader then the iPad will also offer you these luxuries.

Available in 16GB, 32GB or 64GB models you can certainly fit all of your life onto one of these machines. Objectively, if you need a computer for more than web-browsing, it is not a great investment, however having another computer in your household can really optimise the iPad for portable use. The battery life is claimed to outperform the iPhone, lasting at least 24 hours.

With external accessories such as an iPad keyboard dock, multi-side stand and camera connection kit you can use your iPad is a wide range of work-related activities as well as for fun. It is no wonder why the iPad is the talking-point of 2010 and with further developments and updates we can expect to see a lot more of the smooth slate computer.