Calling it "way better than a laptop, way better than a phone," Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled his company's long-awaited iPad tablet-style multi-touch device Wednesday.
The device weighs just 1.5 pounds, has a 9.7-inch color display and a custom built dual CPU and graphics chip. The 16GB model, without a 3G radio, but with Wi-Fi, will cost $499, 32GB and 64GB models, also sans 3G, are priced $599 and $699, respectively. Models with 3G radios will cost an extra $130.
The WiFi-only models will be shipping in 60 days worldwide, while the 3G included models ship in 90 days.
Alongside their new iPad dubbed tablet device, Apple introduced a number of iPad specific applications and service to enhance the productivity and usefulness of their new mobile device.
Some of these new applications, such as an eReader for books and a mobile productivity suite have been circulating along side the tablet rumors itself for the past few months. Here is a quick run down on the new tablet's features:
iBooks is an iPad specific app for reading books with the mobile device's color display, similar to Amazon's Kindle.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrated the application, which features a virtual bookshelf containing the user's personal collection. Users can also sample a number of books, such as those available on the New York Times bestseller list, before purchasing. From there, the books are downloaded and placed onto the iPad's virtual bookshelf for reading.
"If you've used iTunes or the App Store, you're already familiar with this," Jobs said.
Published content will initially include books from publishers HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group, with more to come over time.
iWorks for iPad
Apple also announced a mobile, multi-touch version of iWorks, their productivity suite, that includes Numbers - a spreadsheet application, Pages - a word processing application - and Keynote a presentation application.
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, gave a hands-on demonstration of the new iWork which provides users with the ability to work on important documents on the go.
The three applications will be available for download from the iPad App Store for $9.99 each.
While Apple CEO Steve Jobs said there are no international plans to reveal yet, the company did make an announcement about US availability. Specifically, Apple is continuing its partnership with AT&T, which will offer two data plans for the iPad; 14.99 for a limited 250MB data plan, and a $29.99 unlimited plan with free access to AT&T's nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots.
Moreover, while the data plans, as announced, are limited to AT&T, the data plans themselves are contract-free and can be purchased -- or canceled -- at any time directly from the iPad.
However the 3G-enabled version of the iPad does increase the base cost of the iPad itself, starting at $629.
One rumor that didn't come true was a TV subscription plan in which people could watch all their favorite TV shows for a flat $30-per-month fee on the iPad.
According to The New York Times and AppleInsider, a number of networks passed on Apple's proposed plans. In fact, Apple has had a rocky relationship with a few networks, including NBC-Universal, which at onetime pulled all its content from Apple's iTunes Store.
Now that national cable provider Comcast owns NBC, relations may become even more strained as Comcast's perspective of alternative distributions methods, such as iTunes, are viewed as a threat to the company's core business.