Apple CEO Steve Jobs today announced the Apple iPad and the Apple iBookstore at an invitation-only event in San Francisco, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts in San Francisco. Here are full details and pictures.

The Apple iPad will be available worldwide in just 60 days. Steve Jobs described it as: "Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price."

At the start of the speech Jobs said the iPad plugs the gap between the smartphone and laptop. He dismissed netbooks, saying they 'aren't better than anything'.

"Slow, low quality displays," Jobs said. "They're not better than a laptop at anything, just cheaper. We don't think they're the 3rd device."

Apple's answer is the Apple iPad, which will run all Apple iPhone apps straight out of the box - either at their native size or stretched to fit the 9.7in screen. Users will be able to move apps from their iPhones to the iPad.

Apple iPad

Apple iPad, Steve Jobs

The Apple iPad is a slate PC that looks like a big iPhone. It has a home button and an aluminum bezel like a MacBook. The 9.7in, 4:3 touchscreen is made of glass. It's only half an inch thick, and weighs just 680g (about half a smallish laptop).

It contains a 1GHz Apple A4 chip, which is both processor and graphics. The Apple iPad will come with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of flash solid state storage.

Connectivity is handled by 802.11n WI-Fi internet, and Bluetooth 2.1. It has an accelerometer and compass, speaker, microphone and 30-pin connector.

A hardware keyboard dock can be attached, and works in portrait and landscape modes.

To complement the Apple iPad, Apple is launching the iBookstore online store, a kind of iTunes or App Store for e-books.

At the launch, Steve Jobs said users can personalise their home screens. The iPad is also a web-browsing device. In fact, Jobs boasted: "It's the best browsing experience you've had."

Some models of the Apple iPad come with 3G connectivity. In the States this will be available through AT&T, with an up to 250MB a month deal costing $14.99. Unlimited data is $29.99. There's no contract, it's pre-pay, month-by-month.

Available in under two months, there are six Apple iPad models, ranging in price from $499 to $829. UK pricing is not yet known.

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