Get Ready to Freak Out: Apple Announces the iPad

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The speculation about Apple's new tablet device is over. Today, the California-based tech company announced the iPad, a revolutionary gadget that lets users experience web, email, photos and video on a portable, multi-touch screen.

So what are the deets? The iPad is .5 inches thin, weighs 1.5 pounds and has a 9.7-inch screen. It does many of the things an iPhone or iPod Touch can do in terms of email, music, videos and apps, but it doesn't have a camera or phone functions.

Apple also announced iBooks, which turns the iPad into an e-book reader, only the iPad has a full color screen. That's right, the Kindle just got some major competition.

As for the price tag of the iPad, it all depends on what size hard drive you want and if you want 3G capability or not. The 16GB Wi-Fi base model is $499, while the 32GB is $599 and the 64GB is $799. If you want your iPad to be able to cruise on a 3G network you'll have to add $130 to whichever model you choose.

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AT&T will provide data service for the device, but unlike cell phone plans, you won't have to sign a contract -- it'll just be month-to-month. Plus, since it's just a data plan, the price is pretty low. You'll be able to choose from a $14.99/month plan or $30/month plan.

Basically, the iPad is like a small, portable computer in which you can take your favorite stuff on the go in a compact way. Some might not find the need for such a device, especially if you already have an iPhone or iPod Touch, but others are super excited for the new technology. The iPad will begin shipping in two months, so keep your eyes peeled for the new gadget!
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