iBook. iPod. iPhone. iPad. Apple’s evolution is astounding. It’s like you can actually see the ape man begin to walk upright.

In a little more than 10 years, the Apple consumer has gone from carrying around a clamshell computer to a pocket-sized mp3 player, an innovative smart phone and now, if it’s everything Steve Jobs says it is, an iPad. In case you actually are an ape man and do live in a cave, yesterday Steve Jobs officially introduced the Apple iPad. It’s part smart tablet, part netbook, part eReader and complete awesomeness.

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The Specs

  • Size: Height = 9.56 inches, width = 7.47 inches, depth = 0.5 inch, weight = 1.5 pounds (Wi-Fi model); 1.6 pounds (Wi-Fi + 3G model) and 9.7 inch screen.
  • Display: 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with in-plane switching (IPS) technology, wide, 178° viewing angle; can be held and viewed from any angle. 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Battery life: 10 hours while surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching videos, or listening to music; Built-in 25 Whr rechargeable lithium-polymer battery; Charging via power adapter or USB to computer system.
  • Wireless: built-in 802.11n with Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.
  • 3G: 3G model available with superfast data speeds up to 7.2 Mbps.
  • Processor: 1GHz Apple A4 custom-designed, high-performance, low-power system-on-a-chip.
  • Storage: choice of 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of flash storage.
  • Connectivity: 30-pin connector on the bottom of the iPad allows you to dock and charge it. It also lets you connect to iPad accessories like the Camera Connection Kit and the Keyboard Dock.
  • Audio: built-in speakers, microphone and headphone jack.
  • TV/Video: Support for 1024 by 768 pixels with Dock Connector to VGA Adapter; 576p and 480p with Apple Component AV Cable; 576i and 480i with Apple Composite Cable.
  • Pricing: Starting at US$ 499 for 16GB, Wi-Fi only versions are also available at 32GB for US$ 599 and 64GB for US$ 699. 3G models cost an extra US$ 130.

The Demos

At the presentation, several companies gave demos of how their applications could be used on the iPad. Among them, the New York Times, MLB.com, Electronic Arts and Nova, who demonstrated a host of features.

Watch a TechCrunch Video demonstrating iPad Hands On:

iBooks

Perhaps the most anticipated was the presentation of iBooks, a new application that is supposed to rival the Kindle. iBooks features a bookshelf, and a screen that actually looks like you’re looking down at a book, and has an iBook store featuring Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Hachette book group.

Resembling iTunes or the Apps Store, this allows users to flip through pages and shelves of books. When downloaded, books show up on the bookshelf, much like the do on the Kindle. When reading a book on the iPad, users can flip the page by tapping anywhere on the right, change the size, or flip back by tapping on the left or by dragging the page over manually using touch. You can also skip directly to chapters from the table of contents.

Apple uses the ePub format, which means it’s open (unlike the Kindle), and might mean that users can import their own ePub books.

iPad Apps

Speaking of open, users can start developing applications for iPad with iPhone SDK 3.2 beta. Available for download to members of the iPhone Developer Program, Phone SDK 3.2 beta contains a host of tools needed to start developing and optimizing iPhone OS applications for iPad.

What iPad Doesn’t Do

As exciting as the iPad is, what is doesn’t do (for right now) may keep some from using it. It doesn’t have a built-in camera and users won’t be able to multitask (be on Twitter and build their Keynote presentations simultaneously). It can’t play high definition videos or television nor does it have flash or play in widescreen.

Surely these are legitimate concerns for potential buyers, but the iPad doesn’t claim to replace your phone and knowing Apple, updates are sure to happen, so many of these functionalities may be included in future generations.