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Apple “iPad” Tablet starting at $499

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 — lighter than any netbook, Jobs noted — and sports a 9.7-inch display. It also includes a 1GHz Apple-built ARM A4 processor which includes the CPU and graphics.

“Everything is one chip, and it screams,” Jobs said.

He also touted that device gets 10 hours battery life watching video, and has a one-month standby charge. It will come in capacities of 16GB to 64GB of flash storage.

The 16GB model, without a 3G radio but with Wi-Fi, will cost $499, with 32GB and 64GB models priced $599 and $699, respectively. Models with 3G radios will cost an extra $130.

They will be shipping in 60 days with worldwide availability for Wi-Fi models. 3G models ship in 90 days.

Pricing:

Just Wi-Fi:

  • 16GB – $499
  • 32GB – $599
  • 64GB – $699

With 3G radio:

  • 16GB – $629
  • 32GB – $729
  • 64GB – $829

Apple revealed it will remain a partner with AT&T for its iPad data plans, with the U.S. wireless carrier offering 250MB of data for $14.99 per month, and an unlimited plan for $30 — both without an annual contract.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said there are no international plans to reveal yet, but the company hopes to have them in place by the June-July timeframe. The device will come unlocked and will use GSM micro-SIM cards.

“We’ll be back this summer with some even better deals for our customers internationally,” he said.

Typically, he noted, cell phone companies charge $60 per month for their mobile data plans.

“We think we’ve got a real breakthrough here,” Jobs said.

Jobs said the $14.99 250MB data plan is a “fair bit of data” that most people will “get by on.” Both it and the $29.99 unlimited plan come with free access to AT&T’s nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots.

“They have more Wi-Fi hotspots than anyone,” Jobs said.

As a contract-free purchase, users can buy a 3G-enabled version of the iPad starting at $629. The AT&T network access can be purchased — or canceled — at any time directly from the iPad.

“We think it’s a phenomenal offer,” Jobs said.

Alongside the new iPad tablet-style device, Apple on Wednesday introduced its own proprietary virtual bookstore, dubbed iBooks, for reading content on the device’s 9.7-inch color display.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrated the application, which features a 3D virtual bookshelf with a user’s personal collection. He then browsed a number of books available on theĀ New York Times bestseller list.

Samples of books can be viewed before they are purchased, and downloaded content is placed onto the iPad’s virtual bookshelf.

“If you’ve used iTunes or the App Store, you’re already familiar with this,” Jobs said.

When reading a book, users just tap anywhere on the right to flip forward, and tap on the left side of the screen to flip back.

Five Major Book Partners

  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • Hachette Book Group
  • Penguin
  • Macmillion
  • Simon & Shuster
  • Multi-touch versions of Apple’s Numbers, Pages and Keynote applications will be a part of a new iWork suite built just for the new iPad device and will cost just $9.99 each, the company revealed Wednesday.

    Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, gave a hands-on demonstration of the new iWork. He dragged and dropped slides around in the multi-touch version of Keynote, creating new presentations.

    Slides can be advanced by tapping or sliding fingers. It can also create automatic animated transitions with graphics Schiller referred to as “just beautiful.”

    In Pages, documents were created by typing on the virtual keyboard and scrolling by dragging a finger. Tapping on text pops up a keyboard, and turning the device horizontal places a focus on typing.

    “It is the most beautiful word processor you’ve ever used,” Schiller said.

    He also demonstrated the new version of Numbers, which allows one document to hold many spreadsheets. Rearranging columns is accomplished by tapping and dragging. The virtual keyboard also allows dynamic input, like a time and date keyboard, or more than 250 formulas and functions built in to the application.

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