Apple announces iPad – pricing starts at $499

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BREAKING STORY: Apple has announced the iPad, its much-rumoured Apple tablet device. It will feature a 1GHz processor dubbed the “A4”, and it is an in-house processor. The screen is not a 10-inch, but it is close to it – a LED-backlit 9.7-inch IPS display; and is only 0.5-inch in thickness and weighs only 1.5 pounds.

The device will also feature Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and an accelerometer so you can turn it around in landscape mode like on the iPhone. Apple claims that it has a battery life of 10 hours.

Like predicted, it will use the iPhone OS; but it will have some modifications, including the dock being similar to Snow Leopard and a background image. Applications can use the big screen as the iPad SDK has been released alongside the iPhone SDK, and iPhone apps can be used on the iPad, either in full screen or in the same screen size as the iPhone, but you would see black borders around it.

The iPad has come out with redesigned applications as well because of the big screen, with the iTunes stores and music app looking like their desktop counterpart. Photos will include Faces and Events that is on iPhoto, while YouTube HD will now be added on their dedicated application.

Also announced was that the iPad would become an eBook reader, rivalling the Amazon Kindle. Called “iBooks”, the bookstore will feature five partners at launch – including Penguin and HarperCollins. Apple has also made iPad versions of their iWorks suite, with full document creation and editing tools. They will cost $9.99 for each part of the iWork suite – meaning that you would have to pay about $20 for both Keynote and Numbers.

The iPad will include 3G, after Apple came to a new deal with AT&T. Models with 3G will have a higher pricing, plus will have to pay either $14.99 for 250MB and $29.99 for an unlimited plan. All are unlocked. International 3G plans will be announced shortly in June/July.

The new device will cost $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for the 64GB. The 3G models will start at $629 for 16GB, while 32GB will be priced at $729 and 64GB to be priced at $829. The device will come out in 60 days – or two months approx – for the non-3G iPads, while the 3G models will ship out in 90 days.