Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the company's newest offering - the iPad - at a launch in San Francisco on Wednesday. The device is a tablet-style computer that resembles the company's iPhone, but larger.
Apple had kept it tightly under wraps until the unveiling, though many analysts had correctly speculated that it would be a one-piece tablet computer with a big touch screen, larger than an iPhone but smaller than a laptop. The company plan to sell the new tablet-style iPad starting at 499 US dollars (308 UK pounds), a price tag far below the 1,000 US dollars (618 UK pounds) that some analysts were expecting.
The iPad was billed by Jobs as "so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone." The CEO said that the iPad will also be better for reading books, playing games and watching video than either a laptop or a smart phone.
However, Scott Lowe, ign.com's Editor, said gamers who had been eagerly awaiting the new device may be disappointed.
"In the gaming space we were kind of expecting to see more of like of a resounding presence in terms of like, you know, creating a new device with a new platform but it's really just taking iPhone and iPod touch games and scaling them," he said.
54-year-old Jobs, a pancreatic cancer survivor who had a liver transplant last year, looked thin as he introduced the highly anticipated gadget, though he seemed to have more energy than he did at Apple's last event in September. The iPad has a 9.7-inch touch screen, is a half-inch thick, weighs 1.5 pounds and comes with 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of flash memory storage. It comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built in.Like iPods and the iPhone, the iPad can sync with Apple's Macintosh and Microsoft's Windows computers.
"Your phone these days does a lot. So, this device has to be really good to be in the middle of those two things and justify spending the money on it and I think if anybody is going to create a device that will do that - it is Apple," said Consumer electronics expert, Wendy Sheehan Donnell.
Jobs himself acknowledged Apple will have to work hard to convince consumers that they need this gadget. The Apple CEO said the device battery lasts around 10 hours and can sit for a month on standby without needing charged. That, according to The Neilsen Company's Jon Gibbs, will be another critical factor weighed up by consumers making the decision to buy the new device.