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Apple iPad brings iPhone apps to big screen

The Apple iPad can run apps written for the iPhone and the iPod touch, but it also has some new tricks up its sleeve and some specialist apps to match

The Apple iPad, freshly launched this evening, looks like it's rocking a much-expanded version of the iPhone operating system, and that means our dreams of Flight Control on the big screen are coming true.

The iPad supports all the apps in the iTunes store right out of the box -- but with a 9.7-inch screen, compared to the iPhone and iPod touch's 3.5-inch screen, it has to bend over backwards to get them to look right. That means that you can either use apps at their native size, in a black box on the iPad's screen, or hit a 2x button and every pixel is doubled to fill the whole screen.

Steve Jobs and his Apple-drunk elves showed off apps built for the iPhone during the launch of the iPad, including the Facebook app and a snowboarding game called Snowcross.

Apple snuck iPads to some developers two weeks before the launch and they came up with a few apps designed especially for the tablet. Gameloft demoed a first-person shooting game called Nova that uses the iPad's multi-touch support to offer new ways of targeting your virtual enemies.

A New York Times app (pictured) flaunted the iPad's potential as an uber-ebook reader, offering the broadsheet in an attractive layout that's more like a normal newspaper than the mobile offerings we get on the iPhone, including large colour images and layout with multiple columns.

An app called Brushes turns lets you doodle with your fingers on the screen, and it supports multi-touch zoom up to 32x so you can tweak every little detail. Apps can also take advantage of the iPad user interface's support for pop-up menus, with allow for more complex interaction than on the iPhone.

Electronic Arts was also on hand to demo a horribly blocky Need for Speed Shift, and said the iPad is like "holding an HD screen up to your face", which sounds rather unpleasant to us. Finally, a little-known sport called 'baseball', which appears to be like rounders for fat men in white pyjamas, also had an app to try. It's nice that they cater for minority interests.