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Apple iPad: What we didn't get

Apple's iPad is here, ending months of hype, rumour and misdirection. We've seen it in action -- now let's cast a beady eye at what we didn't get...

The wait is over: the Apple iPad is here. So ends a period of rumour, speculation and frenzied anticipation not seen since Mr Hovis picked up a knife and decided to try something a bit different. We did get a touchscreen tablet with an optimised version of the Apple iPhone OS, 3G and Wi-Fi, but what didn't we get? We take a look at the predictions and see what didn't make it into the iPad tablet PC.

It'll make phone calls

3G is an optional extra on the iPad, costing a whopping extra $130 (£80) on each of the three models -- and that's for data only. That also means no texting. There is a microphone though, so you could fire up a VoIP app and turn your iPad into a Trigger Happy TV-style gigantophone.

It'll be called the iSlate, Magic Slate or iGuide

Apple plumped for iPad, which sounds, not to put too fine a point on it, a little... sanitary.

It'll have a 10-inch to 11-inch touchscreen

The 9.7-inch screen is on the small side of the estimates, despite the tablet appearing to have about an inch of extra real estate all around its face. It's also an odd aspect ratio, meaning that on top of the black bezel all around, widescreen movies have extra black bars. They're also squeezed into the 1,024x768-pixel screen, so they're not displayed in HD.

It'll have an OLED screen

An OLED screen would give the iPad excellent viewing angles, but would be expensive. The screen is an LCD-backlit TFT screen.

It'll be on Verizon

The iPhone has been exclusive to AT&T in the US since launch, to the near-universal disapproval of iPhone owners. But Apple has stuck with AT&T for the iPad's data plans. The tablet's tariffs are nowhere near as Mephistophelean as its telephonic sibling, however. You don't even need to sign up with the network -- just use Wi-Fi -- and if you do, it's a rolling monthly deal rather than fixed-term. Steve Jobs announced international deals should be in place in June or July.

It'll support Flash

You'd think this was a no-brainer. You'd be mistaken. The iPhone failing on Flash is one thing, but how can the iPad expect to be taken seriously as a Web-browsing experience if it doesn't support Flash?

It'll have a camera, two cameras or video calling

The iPhone has had a camera right from day one. It's rubbish, but it's there. Even the iPod nano does video, for Jobs' sake.

It'll support expandable memory

This was unlikely: after all, the iPhone and iPod range don't support memory cards of any description. Still, a memory card slot was much-welcomed in recent MacBooks, so we hoped Apple would see sense. There is some concession to normal people with a camera-connection kit, which consists of two adaptors for the iPad's USB cable: an SD card reader and a USB connector.

It'll have double dock connectors

The iPad connector is in the short side, so it stands in the dock accessories in portrait orientation. This means working in portrait mode if you get the keyboard accessory. If you prefer landscape, you can get the case accessory -- and presumably connect to one of Apple's existing wireless keyboards. Alternatively, you could just buy a laptop.

It'll have facial or fingerprint scanner for different profiles

The Wall Street Journal predicted, among other things, that the tablet would support different user profiles, so it could be passed around the family home. A bit like the O2 Joggler. That was rubbish as well.

It'll support magazines and newspapers

Although the New York Times was a key part of the Apple presentation, that was to show off its stand-alone app rather than pointing to native support for streaming magazines and newspapers over the air. But the app could point the way to the future of consuming periodicals, complete with images, dynamic content, videos, and so-called 'links' to other content. Haaaaang on...

There'll be iPhone OS 4.0 or iLife 2010 too

No love for the iPhone or iLife. Meanwhile, Apple wrong-footed those expecting an update to Apple's iLife software suite, instead punting a version of business suite iWork optimised for the iPad. The iPhone has resisted widespread adoption as a business phone, mainly because of the inefficient email interface, but the iPad may make that leap. Interestingly, iWork for iPad will be unbundled, so you can buy Keynote, Pages and Numbers separately.

It'll support multitasking

Even if the iPhone still doesn't allow you to run more than one app in the background, you'd expect a bigger computer like a tablet to do so. But Apple says uh-uh: no IM while you work, no Spotify while you surf. Apart from Apple's own software, it appears the iPad is strictly one app at a time.

It'll cost $999

This one was way, waaay off the mark: the iPad starts at $499 (£310) for the 16GB model with no 3G, and goes up to $699 (£430) for the 3G-free 64GB model. With 3G, the 16GB model starts at $630 (£390) with the top-whack, 64GB 3G model costing $830 (£515).

It'll be just like we predicted

Yes, even we aren't immune to the siren call of the Apple tablet rumour: way back in November 2007, we broke our own exclusive insight to the rumoured messiah tablet. Were we right? Hard to say at this stage.

What do you think of the Apple iPad? Are any of these missing features deal-breakers, or will you be rushing to lay down your hard-earned cash for some tablet goodness? And most importantly, what do you want from iPad 2.0? Kick off the next round of wild speculation and ill-informed conjecture in the comments.