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Many people are anxiously awaiting the April 3 arrival date for the Apple tablet computer, the iPad. In preparation for the event, iTunes has updated to 9.1 with features to support the device and Apple recently announced a few key details, and some may be familiar to iPod users.

In addition to manual screen brightness adjustment, the iPad may be set to automatically sense light and adjust for visibility. Another feature for ease of use includes the ability to lock the screen orientation. While the device will automatically adjust by simply rotating it, sometimes a user may want to lock it in one orientation. A simple switch keeps the device from auto-rotating when it is turned.

Apple's Steve Jobs - iPad

Apple's Steve Jobs - iPad

As with the iPod, the YouTube app allows users to watch streaming video from YouTube. Other flash media may not be viewed on the iPad. Also familiar is the ability to listen to music while using other applications, such as reading an eBook or surfing the Internet. A slide show may be created with a user’s photos, including artistic transitions and music.

Another feature that users may recognize from other Apple devices is the ability to bookmark web sites right to the home screen so that they may be accessed with a single touch and not having to open Safari first.

The Photo Sorting feature sounds really cool. Apparently it can auto-detect faces and sort pictures by person. Other sorting options include date, time, or place the pictures were taken.

As with the iPhone and iPod touch, the iPad screen has multi-touch capabilities. Tapping and sliding to drag can rearrange items and two fingers can be used for resizing.

The iPad web browser is Safari and on the iPad it will be able to open multiple pages with a dashboard that features thumbnail images of opened sites. Tap on a thumbnail to switch between them.

Two apps, iBooks and Pages, will have an integrated dictionary for definitions. This allows users to quickly view a pop up definition without leaving the book or document. eBooks in iBooks will also be key word searchable.

The question remains as to whether the iPad will be met with applause or criticism. The assessment will hinge on the versatility of the device, ease of use, and how it stacks up against netbooks and eReaders.  Join us on our Audiobook Forum and tell us your thoughts.

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