The newly unveiled Apple tablet computing device, the iPad, is being released in two versions; one will have Wi-Fi while the other comes with both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.
The Wi-Fi only model (802.11n ) will go on sale worldwide this coming March and will be priced at US$499 for the 16GB model while the 32GB and 63GB models will retail at US$599 and US$699 respectively.
Meanwhile, the Wi-Fi plus 3G iPad has an April release date but will not be sold worldwide: for now it is for the US and selected countries with price tags of US$629, US$729 and US$829 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions.
"iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.
"iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before."
With a 9.7-inch LED-backlit screen the iPad is only 0.5 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds plus is powered by Apple’s own ‘system-on-a-chip’, the A4.
Apple iPad’s Multi-Touch applications
The tablet device comes loaded with 12 Multi-Touch applications that work in both landscape and portrait mode and there is an emphasis on its multimedia capabilities, being designed to display e-books from Apple’s new iBookstore while working seamlessly with iTunes and YouTube HD.
For those looking to use the iPad as a productivity device, Apple also introduced a new iPad-specific version of iWork that runs Pages, Keynote and Numbers for working on documents, spreadsheets and so on but with a multi-touch twist and an almost full-size virtual keyboard. The iWork apps will retail at US$9.99 through the App Store.
Syncing with iTunes desktop or laptop library works identically to that of the iPhone and iPod touch, but unlike these devices it will have the option of a specially designed iPad Keyboard Dock with a full-size traditional keyboard.
Apple is also continuing its encouragement of third-party applications and an iPad SDK (software development kit) that includes a simulator for testing and debugging iPad apps on a Mac while also allowing for the creation of universal apps that work across the iPhone and iPod touch, as well as the iPad itself.
By Marie Boran
Photo: The Apple iPad