The long awaited Apple version of the “tablet” has arrived with the announcement today of the new Apple iPad, set to hit stores in April of this year.

Much like a glorified iPod Touch, the Apple iPad sets a bar above and beyond the typical new tablets. Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the new gadget today,  explaining that this new launch is an enhanced combination of a smartphone and laptop.

Construction

Experience this and more on its large Multi-Touch screen, measuring 9.7 inches. With a high resolution, LED-backlit screen, the crisp display allows for an impressive 178 degree viewing angle, with perfect colour and contrast in any light. The touch response has been re-engineered, and the large surface makes it easy to do exactly what you set out to.

The bonus of tablet computers is their portability, and the iPad is no exception. At just 1.5 pounds and 0.5 inches thick, it’s easy to take everywhere you go – and we’re sure there are a bevy of slick cases on the way. For those who are always on the go, they’ll appreciate the ten hour battery life and built in 802.11n wireless network, as well as an optional 3G model when Wi-Fi isn’t available.

Inside, there is also an enhanced, custom designed A4 chip allowing for extreme productivity – this is combined with your choice of a 16, 32 or 64GB flash storage, for your collection of files, photos, movies, apps and more. Although it seems to be lacking specific connectors (such as a USB), it does include a 30-pin dock connector. And the built-in speakers allows for movie watching and music listening with ease (headphone jack is included).

Built In Apps

The new iPad can easily run about 140,000 apps available at the app store. It also comes with many of the applications that we already know and love.

Safari: You can make your way around the Internet using your finger. Clicking, pointing, scrolling and zooming has never been easier on the enhanced touch screen.

Mail: Compose, read, delete and send your emails in all of your favourite mail programs. Use two orientations – portrait or landscape – to view and organize your inbox to your liking. Photos: The  high resolution, LED-backlit screen lets you see photos in a whole new light.  Zoom, edit, email and organize with a new software that makes your iPad into personalized, portable album.

Video: Any kind of movies will make the cut, including television shows and podcasts. The picture completely fills the screen, keeping distractions at bay and letting you enjoy. It also includes a YouTube app, so videos are easy to find and watch.

iPod and iTunes

Your music awaits, organizing your songs by their information. Simply tap to play a song, and listen through the speakers or headset – letting you take your music anywhere. You can also buy your music (or videos) from iTunes right from your iPad.

App Store and iBooks

Keep boredom at bay with about 140,000 apps and loads of new books. The LED-backlit screen display allows for reading in dim lighting, and the loads of choices will keep you busy during long flights, nights in or boring meetings. Five of North America’s largest trade book publishers, including Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette, have signed as head suppliers of the new iBook store.

Notes: Those who love Stickies will love pnote taking on their iPad with its large, on-screen keyboard.

Calendar and Contacts

Just like on your Mac, Calender and Contacts are easily organized, keeping all your information at the touch of your fingertips. One thing we’re not sure of – but would be ideal – would be easy syncing with your Macbook.

The Environment

We also love the eco-ness of the upcoming iPad, designed with specific features to be earth-friendly. This includes a mercury-free LCD display with arsenic-free display glass, as well as being completely BRF0free and PVC-free. It is also made of  a recyclable aluminum and glass enclosure.

What Its Missing

We’re surprised that the iPad doesn’t include a camera, wireless sync, and multitask abilities – but we’ll await to see how these might come aboard.

The Cost

The Apple iPad Wi-Fi models are set to launch in late March 2010, and the 3G models in April 2010. For the Wi-Fi versions, pricing starts at $500 for 16GB version, $600 for 32GB, and $700 for 64GB (US Dollars). The 3G is a little sturdier at $630 for 16GB version, $730 for 32GB, and $830 for 64GB (US Dollars). International pricing and availability will be announced at a later date.

Specs

Size/Weight
Height: 9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
Width:  7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
Depth:  0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
Weight: 1.5 pounds (.68 kg) Wi-Fi model; 1.6 pounds (.73 kg) Wi-Fi + 3G model

Display
9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen
Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously

Capacity: 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive

Processor: The Apple iPad is powered by a 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip
Battery and Power: Built-in 25Whr rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music
Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system

See more at http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/

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iPad Photo