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IDG News Service - Apple on Wednesday launched its much-awaited iPad tablet device, a handheld that will allow users to view movies, surf the Internet and play high-definition games.
The device, priced starting at $499 for a 16GB version, is set to ship worldwide in 60 days, Jobs said.
"We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical and revolutionary product," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, after taking the stage in front of a throng of media and IT luminaries at the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts in San Francisco.
"Everybody uses a laptop and smartphone. A question has arisen: Is there room for a third device between a [laptop] and smartphone?" Jobs asked. "We've got something that is. We call it the iPad."
IPad features include the ability to browse the Web and listen to music, with photo, calendar, and maps applications. It will work with the iTunes store to let users discover and purchase music, movies and TV shows, Jobs added.
When the iPad is turned sideways, it orients the view for the user. "It's a dream to type on," Jobs said, demonstrating that feature.
Like the iPhone, the iPad has a virtual keyboard. It is about half an inch thick, weighs 1.5 pounds, has a 9.7-inch display, and offers internal storage option capacities of 16G, 32G or 64GB. The device is powered by in-house custom silicon, a 1GHz A4 chip, Jobs said. Wireless features include 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology.
"We've been able to achieve 10 hours of battery life," Jobs said.
Jobs demonstrated various built-in applications including a photobook that lets users scroll through photos and display slide shows in various modes. A built-in iPod and iTunes store lets users scroll through albums to play songs as well as sample tunes, while calendar, contact and address applications let users track personal events and other data.
Apple is also announcing iPhone SDK development to support the iPad. Developers. They can download the SDK at Apple's Web site to get going, Jobs noted.
Apple has also been working with a variety of content partners, including game developers like Gameloft.
Martin Nisenholtz from The New York Times took the stage to talk about a new application for the iPad.
"We developed an app for the iPhone that was downloaded 3 million times," he said.
Now, the newspaper has developed an application for the iPad, which according to Nisenholtz was designed to bring the best of the print and digital worlds together. The application lets users click through sections and call up specific articles. "It captures the essence of reading newspapers," Nisenholtz said, noting that the application displays a "very newspaper-like layout." But unlike a newspaper, the iPad application can show a snapshot of the latest updates from different sections on a different page.
Electronic Arts also displayed a PC-like version of the game "Need For Speed" on the iPad. During the demonstration, Travis Boatman of Electronic Arts said the device is powerful for high-quality gaming applications with its support for OpenGL ES.