Apple Unveils the Magical iPad

San Francisco, California (CNN) — Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday unveiled the iPad, the widely and wildly anticipated tablet-style computer that he called “a truly magical and revolutionary product.”

“What this device does is extraordinary,” Jobs said. “It is the best browsing experience you’ve ever had. … It’s unbelievably great … way better than a laptop. Way better than a smartphone.”

The computer will act as a sort of missing link between the two. The model Jobs demonstrated at an invitation-only event in San Francisco operated without a hardware keyboard, with Jobs typing on what he described as a nearly full-size touchscreen keyboard.

“It’s a dream to type on,” he said.

It has a nearly 10-inch screen, runs existing apps from the Apple apps store and is available in 16-gigabyte, 32-gigabyte and 64-gigabyte versions, according to Jobs.

It will be about a half-inch thick and weigh about 1½ pounds.

Jobs said the iPad will be lightning fast: “It screams,” he told a crowd that included former Vice President Al Gore.

The device will have a 1 GHz processor, an announcement that coaxed “oohs” and “ahs” from the audience.

Pricing will start at $499 for the 16-gigabyte version, $599 for the 32-gig version and $699 for the 64, Jobs said.

Having 3G mobile access will cost an extra $130 on each, he said.

Two mobile plans will be available through AT&T, and there will be no contracts, allowing customers to opt out at any time, according to Jobs.

They are scheduled to begin shipping in 60 days.

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