The iPad runs Apple's proprietary iOS operating system, with an interface similar the iPod Touch and iPhone. Though the tablet accepts peripherals such as wireless keyboards and game controllers, the primary interface exclusively uses the system's capacitive touch screen. It supports gesture-based navigation and multitouch, and features an internal accelerometer for setting the screen display and motion control. An update to the operating system also allows multiple applications to run simultaneously in the background.
The iPad can connect to the Internet for Web browsing, map navigation, social networking and multiplayer gaming. Apple offers iPads in two basic models. The cheaper variety includes only Wi-Fi connectivity for networking from a local connection. The second model also includes over-the-air networking for use with a cellular service provider subscription. AT&T and Verizon offer iPads with service contracts.
Each iPad comes with a suite of built in software for performing basic computing functions. Available programs include a touch-based version of the Safari Web browser, FaceTime for video calls using the system's built in camera, Photo Booth for managing and editing pictures, the Mail email syncing software, Apple's App Store, video and audio playback software, and the Google-powered Maps navigation app.
The App Store greatly expands the functions of the iPad to include thousands of new applications, downloadable via the system's network connection or transferable from a computer running iTunes. The store includes applications for gaming, business, organization, travel, news, education, music and dozens of other functions. Many apps download for free, while others require purchase before use.