Apple has earmarked “late April’ as the Australian onsale date for the iPad, with both the Wi-Fi and 3G versions to be available to buyers.

One of the most anticipated technology releases of the year, the iPad – in Apple’s words, lets “users browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more. iPad is just 1.27 centimetres thick and weighs just 680 grams – thinner and lighter than any laptop or netbook — and delivers battery life of up to 10 hours” (depending on usage).

The Wi-Fi version will allow owners to access the internet for free from local Wi-Fi networks, such as those within homes, offices and a handful of public spaces. The 3G version will provide access to the Internet via 3G mobile phone networks, which cover most of Australia, and requires the payment of a monthly fee.

According to Apple, the device will ship with 12 new apps purpose-designed for iPad, with more to follow. Worldwide, developers are creating new apps that make the most of the iPad’s large, multi-touch screen and high quality graphics capabilities. These will join the more than 150,000 apps currently available on the App Store, with Apple giving assurances that “most” of these – along with those already purchased by owners of an Iphone or Ipod touch – will be compatible with the iPad.

No details of standalone pricing or network plans with telecom operators have been announced, but expect an outright cost for the iPad of between $500 and $1000.