Much of the early buzz about the iPad centered around DVD or higher quality video, and certainly with the ability to play 720p video, the iPad can handle lots of high bandwidth, high quality streams. But what about if you’re encoding video to send via Wi-Fi, or cellular once the 3G version is released?
Well, there’s an app for that. Not really, sorry, couldn’t resist. But there is a very definitive tech note that you can find here: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/technotes/tn2010/tn2224.html. This covers all adaptive bitrate streaming to all Apple devices.
Interestingly, the highest quality stream recommended is 640×360 (640×480 for 4:3), at a video bitrate of 1200, 29.97 fps and 40 kbps audio. As far as I could tell, the tech note doesn’t specify mono or stereo. For those requiring a little more guidance, there’s also a link to Technical Note TN2219, Compressing QuickTime Movies for the Web, that goes into even more detail about H.264 and MPEG-4 encoding.