Apple’s iPad: An app for economic recovery?

Apple’s new iPad.

Apple, we hope, has done it again.

The introduction of the iPad on Wednesday by Apple CEO Steve Jobs struck a much-needed chord of ingenuity and enthusiasm into the moribund days of a particularly dreary winter.

It had been rumored that the iPad would sell for $1,000, but the tablet-style iPad will start at half that price, $499.

Though tablet computers have been around for some time, this one seems to offer more uses than its predecessors.

“We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product,” Jobs said when he introduced the iPad. “It’s so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone.”

Some observers even think the iPad could offer the newspaper industry a lifeline, allowing publications to retain their profit model while making the jump into cyberspace.

The jury is out on that, of course, but several book publishers announced they were working as partners with Apple to make their books available on the iPad.

Still, there is no denying that the introduction of the iPad has people talking and, we hope, wallets opening.

Bigger than an iPhone and smaller than a laptop computer, the iPad has a 9.7-inch touch screen, weighs 1.5 pounds and has a battery that can run the device for 10 hours.

The iPad on the AT&T Inc. data plan will have a basic cost of $14.99 per month.

This isn’t a product endorsement, but is an endorsement of American innovation and industry, the kind of thing that the economy could use more of these days. It’s more than fair to say that we’re also eager to see what competitors bring to the market in response to the Apple iPad.

We’re also eager to see how consumers respond to this new, lower-cost high-tech offering.

We’re reasonably certain that Microsoft and other companies are working on their own new products, and we welcome them, as well.

High-tech advancements led the American and global economies through the 1990s and a resurgence in the industry can only bode well for all of us.

It’s become a familiar tag line, but we hope that Apple and the rest of the industry can say for some time to beleaguered consumers: When the economy’s slow, there’s an app for that.


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