What is the new Apple iPad?

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Earlier today, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the much-anticipated Apple iPad. The internet has been buzzing with speculation over the past few weeks at the prospect of this announcement. Many were calling it the iTablet, some thought it would be the iSlate. The Wall Street Journal humorously noted that the “last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.”

But this morning it became official.

What is the new Applie iPad?

The iPad is a content consumption device that will likely pave the way to a new category of devices, something that fits in between the smart phone and the laptop.

Apple lists the full specs of the iPad on its site. In many ways it is like a giant iPod Touch, including WiFi and 3G internet access.

Here are five of my favorite iPad features:

– multi-touch interface
– sharp looking LED display
– 10 hrs battery life, a month of standby life
– maps that also include Google street view
– the iBookstore (ePub format)

There are some things that the iPad still can’t do, such as:

– play Flash
– multi-task, e.g. you can’t listen to Pandora while writing an email

One of the most talked about features of the iPad is the iBookstore. Apple already has several publisher deals in place, and many more will likely follow. So the question that follows is, will the iPad be a Kindle killer? What will it do to Sony’s eBook?

And with the iPad infringe on the netbook market?

The entry price for the iPad was a pleasant surprise and lower than expected, at $499. It looks like Apple has learned form its experience with the iPhone where it entered the market slightly higher than it should have.

iPhone and iPod Touch owners will still be able to play all of the apps (currently just over 140,000) that are available for those devices, on the iPad. And app developers will be able to design separate apps which utilize the full capabilities of the iPad’s superior graphics and touch screen.

What’s next for the iPad?

Well, first there’s the wait. According to today’s announcement, it will be available 60 days from now in the US.

Once available, it will be more than interesting to see how the market handles the iPad. And if it succeeds, this tablet device will likely be the first generation of many more to come.