So there we have it, after more than 7 years after the first rumours of an Apple Tablet, first recorded by eweek following Macworld (opens in new tab) in 2003, the Cupertino-based company has launched the iPad, a tablet device that, it claims, will revolutionise the tech industry forever by sitting neatly between a smartphone and a laptop.
It is, as we long claimed it, the equivalent of a giant iPod touch (or some could say, a digital photo frame) and will cost as little as $499 for the 16GB version with WiFi only. In total, there will be five other versions with the more expensive one costing $829 (64GB RAM, WiFi and 3G connectivity).
Its 9.7-inch full capacitive touchscreen, reintroduces the classic 4:3 format ratio with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels - meaning that it is not HD Ready (although it can stream HD content). Just like the iPod Touch, it has a built in accelerometer, multi touch plus access to iPod, iTunes and the App Store.
The WiFi only model weighs 680g while the 3G capable adds another 50g. At 13.4mm, it is only 1.1mm thicker than the iPhone 3GS. With a battery life of up to 10 hours, it doesn't compete heads on with the ebook readers which can last for days at a time.
The iPad Tablet - which will go on sale in March 2010 - goes slightly beyond that by offering a dedicated photo application, an iBookstore (the equivalent of the App store but for books) as well as new iWork applications designed specifically for the iPhone.
The event which saw the launch of the iPad lasted just under 100 minutes at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and you can read our pseudo-live coverage of the event here.