The Apple Tablet is announced… as the iPad

After intense speculation and interest from bloggers, publishers and iPhone fans, today’s the day for the unveiling of the iPad, Apple’s latest device.  Unlike many announcements, this is an entirely new form factor, sitting squarely between the iPhone and Apple’s range of consumer and professional laptops in both size, power and portability.  Running on a new faster 1Ghz processor, it has a 9.7 inch screen and weighs 1.5 pounds, putting it into the same size level as the Kindle DX, leading to a potentially worrying time for Amazon.

It targets many different potential markets, but in the publishing world, aims squarely at the Kindle.  With its’ new built in iBookstore (similar to an iTunes store for books), it’s signing up with five partners initially – Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon&Schuster, Macmillan, and Hachett book group.

Unlike the Kindle however, the iPad has to deal with WiFi-only internet access on the basic models, being priced between $499-699 depending on storage options (16,32 and 64 GB), unlike Kindle’s built in WhisperNet which works anywhere there is a mobile signal, for free (having been paid for by Amazon).  Apple will offer a version including 3G mobile access, for an extra $129 per model, plus another $14-30 per month for a data plan from AT&T (in the U.S.).

More news on the international launch soon…

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