Apple unveils iPad tablet computer

The half-inch thick device weighs around 1.5 pounds and features 9.7 inch LED-backlit display with I

Apple has unveiled the much anticipated touch screen tablet computer iPad, a new category of mobile device which comes in between the smartphone and a notebook.

The new device, which looks like a larger iPhone, starts at $499. The half-inch thick device weighs around 1.5 pounds and features 9.7 inch LED-backlit display with IPS technology that delivers images with 178 degree viewing angle. It comes in two versions, one with Wi-Fi and the other with both Wi-Fi and 3G supporting speeds of up to 7.2mbps on HSDPA networks.

The new iPad allows users to browse the web, read and send email, watch videos, listen to music, play games and read e-books. It syncs with iTunes same as the iPhone and iPod touch, using the Apple 30-pin to USB cable, allowing users to sync contacts, photos, music, movies and apps from Mac or PC.

According to Apple, the new iPad features multi-touch interface and full-size soft keyboard. Its enclosure is made of recyclable aluminium, while the LED backlit displays are mercury-free and made of arsenic-free glass.

iPad also connects to the new keyboard dock with a full-size traditional keyboard. Powered by A4, Apple's NxG system-on-a-chip, iPad provides processor and graphics performance along with long battery life of up to 10 hours.

Apple also unveiled new iBooks app for iPad, which includes the company's new iBookstore that allows users to buy and read books on a mobile device; and a new version of productivity suite iWork for iPad, designed for multi-touch.

In conjunction, Apple also released a new software development kit for iPad that allows developers to create new applications. The SDK includes a simulator that lets developers test and debug their iPad apps on a Mac and also help them create universal applications that run on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, said: "iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price. iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before."