Analysis: iPad Doesn’t Change Apple’s TV Game

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The Apple iPad has been the subject of intense speculation (see TV Braces For The Apple Tablet) but the final product unveiled by CEO Steve Jobs in San Francisco Jan. 27 seems to maintain the status quo, at least with regard to video content.

Users can purchase movies or TV shows on iTunes, and sync them with their iPad to view whenever they would like. The iPad has a large, 9.7 inch HD screen that allows for easier viewing than on the iPhone’s 3 inch screen, but other than that the design is largely the same.

The Financial Times reported earlier this week that Apple was trying to convince TV networks to reduce prices on single episodes to $0.99 to boost sales, talks that apparently were not received well as prices remain unchanged. So the current iTunes model looks like it will remain in place for now.

Rumors of a subscription “best of TV” plan and an “iTunes in the cloud” were also proven to be unfounded, though it is clear Apple has been talking to content providers about both products, and could unveil either one at a later date.

The iPad will run nearly all of the applications available to iPhone and iPod Touch users, including apps like MLB.com’s At Bat, which allows users to watch games live on their device.

WiFi and 3G connectivity via AT&T mean that users will be able to view web pages wherever they go. The device does not support Adobe Flash, which is used heavily for web video content. Access to sites like YouTube will be available via specialized applications, but Flash-based websites like Hulu.com will not work with the tablet, at least for now.

Still, the iPad is a blank slate (figuratively speaking) and any number of additions, such as Flash support, a cloud based iTunes, TV price drops or other features could be added at any time. Until then, the device will largely take what Apple is doing on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and put on a larger, prettier screen.

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