iPad appears at Grammys, hospitals eye Apple's new hardware

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As hospitals look at potential applications for Apple's newly announced iPad, the hardware made an appearance with comedian Stephen Colbert at Sunday's 52nd Grammy Awards.

Hospitals curious about Apple iPad

According to The Sacramento Bee, some hospitals are experimenting with tablet-style computers, and Apple's iPad is now on their radar. It quoted an official with nonprofit managed care organization Kaiser Permanente who said tablet computers could help doctors and nurses spend more time with patients.

In a San Francisco-based program dubbed "Destination Bedside," officials hope to provide superior care by giving hospital workers tablets that would provide X-rays, charts, prescriptions and notes all on one device at the tap of the finger. The company expects to settle on one tablet for company-wide distribution later this year.

And in the running is Apple's iPad, thanks in part to the popularity of the iPhone. But until the iPad can be tested for real-world use in the hospitals, officials are keeping their options open. One touchscreen device called the Motion C5, controlled by a stylus, has been in trial.

Dr. Javeed Siddiqui, associate medical director for the Center for Health and Technology at UC Davis Medical Center, told the Bee he's excited by the potential the iPad offers for the medical industry.

"It's portable and it's lightweight," he said. "It has touch screen, a Web browser — and all those features can be utilized as a way to integrate technology in patient care."

The real potential for the iPad in the medical field will lie in the ability to write custom applications for the hardware. In addition to a number of bundled applications, the iPad will have access to Apple's App Store, which now offers more than 140,000 different options.

Health care workers excited about the possibilities won't have to wait long for Apple's iPad. The Wi-Fi only version, starting at $499, is expected to ship by the end of March. The 3G-enabled version, which carries a $130 premium, should arrive a month later.

Real iPad appears at Grammy Awards

When introducing the nominees for "Song of the Year" at the Grammys, Colbert jokingly searched his pockets and looked around, acting as if he had misplaced his list.

"Where's the list? Oh, I know," he said. "It's on my iPad."

Colbert then reached under his jacket and pulled out a fully functional iPad. The device even rotated its orientation as the comedian held it in his right hand, above his shoulder, displaying the Apple device to the audience. Its appearance garnered cheers and laughter from the crowd.

"Jay-Z, did you not get one of these in your gift bag?" Colbert joked. "Am I cooler than you?"