Today Apple launched the iPad, a tablet computer that it hopes will fit somewhere between the iPhone and the Mac in its product lineup.
The iPad lets users surf the Web, send emails, download and listen to music and videos in iTunes, and even read ebooks from major publishers using its iBooks application. It also supports applications from the current iTunes app store, as well as apps developed specifically for the iPad, so it will launch with an already exhaustive library of games, too. Currently, it looks like the device runs a similar version of the iPhone OS.
It has a 1024 x 768 resolution 9.7-inch IPS capacitive multitouch display and is equipped with 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a speaker, microphone, 30-pin connector, accelerometer, and a compass. It's powered by a 1-GHz Apple A4 chip and has 16-64GB of flash storage depending on the model you choose. To type, there's an onscreen QWERTY keyboard which works in both landscape and portrait modes.
For surfing the Web away from home, the more expensive iPad models are equipped with a 3G chip for no-contract 3G data plans from AT&T. One plan is $14.99 for 250MB of data per month, and the unlimited plan costs $29.99 per month. You'll also have access to AT&T WiFi hotspots for free. The 3G models ship unlocked and accept GSM SIM cards for using internationally, although global carrier partners have not yet been announced.
Steve Jobs said the device has 10 hours of battery life, enough to watch movies from San Francisco to Tokyo the whole way.
Other features include full iWork support, which will set you back $9.99 per app or $30 for the whole package.
The iPad comes without 3G for $499 (16GB), $599 (32GB), and $699 (64GB). The 3G models cost $629, $729, and $829, respectively. The standard models will be available within the next 60 days while 3G models will ship in 90 days.