Apple Inc., seeking to revolutionize the publishing business in the same way the iPod transformed the music industry, unveiled a tablet computer starting at $499, a price that is 50 percent lower than some analysts predicted.

The iPad can display full Web pages, books and publications, and run iPhone applications, and it has a touch-screen keyboard, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said Wednesday at a company event in San Francisco. The product will come in two versions: one with just a Wi-Fi connection and another that also uses third-generation mobile-phone service.

"At that price, they'll sell millions," said Hakim Kriout, a portfolio manager at Manhattan-based Grigsby & Associates, which owns Apple shares. "It's very, very affordable for what it does. This is going to add a huge revenue stream for Apple."

The iPad builds on the digital media and mobile technology behind Apple's market-leading iPod and the iPhone, and will challenge dedicated e-book readers from and Sony Corp.

It will go on sale in late March. Apple unveiled a free electronic-book reader application for the iPad and is opening an e-book store. - Bloomberg

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