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Apple iPad starts at $499, crammed with features

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs holds up the

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new iPad as he speaks during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Chances are that even if you're living under a rock, you know something happened over at Apple Wednesday. The blogosphere and interwebs were buzzing on how this mystery tablet could revolutionize e-books, gaming and portable computing (I'm surprised hygiene isn't in there).

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Well it was finally announced as the iPad. This all-in-one machine hopes to be the unifying gadget that will bridge the smorgasbord of entertainment and workflow options. Music, movies, games, productivity software, books, Web ware. It seems to cram everything into one slim package.

The iPad features a 9.7-inch touch screen, which comes in at half-inch thick and weighs a light 1.5 pounds.

iPad comes in nine different models with either 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of flash memory storage. The basic iPad models will cost $499, $599 and $699, depending on the size of its hard drive.

Jobs also said 3G versions of each model will be available, adding $130, so $629, $729 and $829 for the 3G-capable models. For 3G iPads, users will be able to choose between two contarct free plans: $14.99 per month for 250 megabytes of data, or $29.99 for unlimited data usage.

Applications designed for the iPhone can run on the iPad.

Jobs said the iPad "so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone."

But a couple of key features are missing missing. The iPad comes without camera, no multitasking, no phone, no Verizon, no upgraded OS, and no Flash.

Check out the full live blog below for more details.

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2:50 So the live blog is over, but comment below and tell us what you think about this hyped-up all-in-one machine.

Another question that wasn't answered: With AT&T trying to limit the bandwidth of current iPhone users, what makes Apple or AT&T think that the already loaded network can handle the extra workload? Why hasn't Verizon jumped on this?

2:40 One HUGE notable exception is that it's missing a camera. That's a big mistake. The iPad looks like it could be an awesome Skype machine. With the 3G, imagine live video conference calling from just about anywhere.

2:36 It's over. Full specs weren't given, but I'll try to get that out there as soon as it becomes available.

2:30 Steve Jobs is touting the number of  Apple users who are already familiar with the Apple software. Expects the iPad to be “intersection of technology and liberal arts.”

2:25 They also have accessories for this. First, a charging dock and a full size mechanical keyboard. There's also a carrying case, and a stand.

2:21 *>>> See latest photos of the Apple iPad presentation.

iPad without the 3G capabilities will begin shipping in 60 days. If you want the 3G model, expect to wait 90 days.

2:17 But  these are the modes everyone is going to want. The 3G models cost an extra $130, so $629, $729 and $829 for the 3G-capable models.

2:17 Then there’s 32GB for $599 and 64GB for $699. These are for the Wi-Fi only version.

2:17: “I am thrilled to announce to you that the iPad pricing starts, not at $999, but at $499.” Those are without the 3G.

2:15 Price being announced, under $1,000. Apple CEO Jobs says, "We want to put this in the hands of many people."

2:13 Wi-Fi capable. Will also included 3G plans with AT&T. $14.99 for 250MB for a month (Uhhh) or $29.99 for unlimited. No contracts, meaning no early termination fees. AT&T will let you use its Wi-Fi hotspots for free.

2:12 Alas, iWork will not come pre-installed. Will be selling on app store for $9.99. They’re all compatible with iWork on the Mac, and you can connect to a projector (not sure how).

2:00 Whoa, iWork is capable of animated presentations. Everything done with tapping, dragging, one finger.

1:58  iWork for the iPad being announced, includes word processing, spreadsheets, multimedia presentions including a reworked KeyNote that can create interactive graphs and charts. Fully integrated with the multi-touch capapbilities. Photos, text, graphics can all be resized with taps and touches.

1:56 iBooks is in full color. The screen dims for easier reading. Some books can even boast videos and photos. No word if you can import your own e-books.

1:53 iPad showing off e-book capabilities, called iBook. The books you buy, actually like like a shelf in your home with the full covers on display. Users can get a sample of a book through the iTunes store. If they like what they see, they can buy via iTunes, and the book will appear on the virutal shelf.

1:50 iPad will run all apps iPhone can, plus potential thousands more that are specifically designed for the iPad.

1:47 MLB Live showcase. "You can watch video highlights as the game is going on." With MLB TV subscription, you can watch any game you want anywhere with an internet  connection.

1:46 EA developer: "Building for the iPad is a little different -- it's kind of like holding an HD display up to your face. It's really cool."

1:46 EA devoper talking about games. Need for Speed! Looks awesome. Game engine looks smooth, responsive.

1:43 Game devlopers are showing off games.First off is a first person shooter. No specs yet, but it looks like the equivalent of PS1, PS2ish graphics.

1:40 No word yet on price. Seems like the price is pretty up there. I'm going to guess $899.

1:35 Jobs:  "What is the battery life like? We've been able to achieve 10 hours of battery life." Jobs says he's taken a flight from San Franciso to Tokyo and watched a full length movie without having to recharge it.

1:30 Jobs: "It's powered by our own silicon. The 1GHz Apple A4 chip. It screams." Available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB hard drives.

1:29 Jobs announces the dimensions .5 inches thin, 1.5 pounds -- 9.7 inch IPS display. Full capacity multitouch. The screen has an accelometer.

1:29 Jobs is showing off clips of 'Star Trek' and 'Up.' It looks beautifully rendered. The crowd is going wild.

1:29 Jobs is showing youtube, it looks awesome. It can go full screen in HD. No word yet on specs. Jobs ""It just all works. And of course videos... We've got movies, TV shows, music videos."

1:25 Steve is in Maps now. Zooming looks super fast, a bit like google maps. Has street view.

1:24  Jobs -- "The iTunes store is built right in. I can sample music, buy songs." The interface has modals that pop over what you're viewing to show you song / album info."

1:20 Jobs is swiping through photos, zooming in and out. Similar if not exactly like an iPhone.

1:19 Steve Jobs is typing  on the iPad, like if were a real keyboard. The iPad is sitting on his lap. It looks a bit awkward and uncomfortable.

1:17 Typing and mice movement all done with touch controls including an iPhone keyboard clone.

1:16 You can watch YouTube (even in high def), and you can watch TV shows and movies. The screen looks like a hybrid between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio. Jobs is visiting the New York Times website. The page renders just like a browser’s, and there are the navigational buttons on the top.

1:15 The iPad looks slim, sleek, lighweight, big bright 10+ inch screen.

1:13 “It is the best browsing experience you’ve ever had.” It's much more intimate than a netbook, or laptop.

1:10  "We have something much better. And we call it, the iPad." It's official.

1:10 Jobs is hating on netbooks.

1:09  So far Steve jobs is talking about how great his company is doing, and what've they've done. Apple makes $15.6 billion of revenue.

1:08 There are over 140,000 applications in the App Store. “A few weeks ago we announced a user downloaded the 3 billionth app from the App Store.”

1:05 Apple has sold 250,000,000 iPods since 2001.

1:02  “We want to kick off 2010 by introducing a truly magical products today.”

1:01  Steve Jobs is on stage, and he looks about the same as we last saw him (kinda skinny, but not unhealthily skinny).

>> PHOTOS: Click here to see 18 cool photos of Apple products through the years, from the first Apple computer onwards


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