iPhone-game compatible iPad revealed

iPad is engineered to work with almost every iPhone app and game

GamePro is reporting live from Apple's press event--check out our feed here. At the event, the company has just announced a device called the iPad, which seemingly merges two of the company's most popular products--the iPhone and the Macbook. The half inch thin, one-and-a-half pound heavy device looks like a large iPhone--there are no buttons on the device, just a nine-and-a-half inch wide screen with multi-touch capabilities. The product uses Apple's 1 GZ A4 processor and comes with flash memory totals of 16, 32, or 64GB. In terms of connectivity, it boasts WiFi (including 802.11n), as well as Bluetooth capabilities--some models will include 3G, while others won't. Those who choose to use 3G can pay US$15 a month for up to 250MB of data usage, while an unlimited data plan runs US$30 a month.

In terms of games, the iPad is engineered to work with almost every iPhone app and game, displaying the app in different ways--either at its original size in a black box, or in full-screen with the app being run in "pixel double" mode. While the company obviously cherry-picked it for the event, iPhone game Snowcross still looked sharp on the iPad's screen. But don't expect the suite of games on the iPad to be relegated to up-rezzed iPhone leftovers--Apple also announced that the iPad will have it's own development kit that is now available to app developers, allowing them to play to the iPad's better processing power, larger screen, and higher resolution.

Some game developers have already had access to the SDK. One such company was EA, who created a version of Need for Speed Shift exclusively for the iPad. Taking advantage of the large screen by allowing the player to steer the wheel by gliding your fingers over it and check the rear-view mirror by tapping it, the game currently does not have a price. GameLoft also showed a new version of Nova, its first-person shooter franchise that has been garnering some acclaim on the iPhone. Nova will be available later this year, while Need for Speed Shift wasn't denoted a date. Neither game's price is known yet.

On a (potentially) GamePro-related note, the iPad will also have a new app called iBooks, an electronic reader that allows you to fill your virtual bookshelf with books (and perhaps magazines) that are displayed just as they are on the printed page. Just like music has iTunes and games have the app store, iBook will have an iBook Store. The iBook app uses the ePub format, one of the most popular electronic reader formats in the world.

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Dave Rudden

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