Consider every rumour and all speculation officially quelled because today, Apple has announced its newest family member.

25cm by 1cm, you’d easily class this as one of the thinnest computers out there. Apple are using an LED-backlit glossy Multi-Touch screen based around IPS technology, a display type known for it’s almost completely perfect viewing angles.

If you’re already familiar with the iPhone – and let’s face it, who isn’t – you’ll probably see a lot of design inspiration coming from that. With a large black bezel and that same home button found at the bottom, the iPad looks very much like an oversized Apple iPhone.

Much like Apple’s incredibly popular mobile phone, the iPad comes with support for music playback through built-in speakers and over the 3.5mm stereo jack. There’s also a dock connector and microphone giving you connections to both your computer and the world of teleconferencing.

The new Apple iPad can be used to play games bought from Apple's already established AppStore.
The new Apple iPad can be used to play games bought from Apple’s already established AppStore.

Utilising a 1GHz Apple custom-designed processor, it’s expected that this thing will be fast. We’re already hearing from the GadgetGuy team onsite that it lives up to those expectations. Companies like EA and Gameloft have already jumped on to develop game titles so expect to see the Apple iPad compete in the portable console space.

And despite expectations that the Apple iPad would come with 3G, Apple announced that they will be bringing two models of the iPad to market: one with WiFi, the other with 3G and WiFi. The WiFi model won’t feature any form of telephony while the 3G capable model will also work on 2G’s GSM/EDGE networks as well.

No camera was included, despite rumours suggesting its presence.

All of this comes with a price, but that price wasn’t blown completely out of proportion. In fact, surprising everyone, Steve Jobs announced the starting price at $499 US. No official price has been announced locally, but current conversion rates put the iPad at about $560 but you can probably expect a slightly higher price tag.

There’s a whole bunch of new features including the ability to read books in ways you never imagined – ways that completely change the eBook space – and we can’t discount the new possibilities for gaming, web surfing, and even working.

Not to mention the ability to run iPhone & iPod Touch apps directly on the iPad.

Our team in San Francisco is currently getting video of this amazing announcement so look for that coming up.

Apple iPad