Apple today unveiled its much-anticipated notebook-sized, touchscreen tablet, the iPad, to go head to head with the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. The Apple iPad is a cross between a laptop and smartphone and resembles an oversized iPod Touch.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the color multimedia device will allow users to browse the Web, listen to music, watch movies or television shows and also serve as an electronic book and newspaper reader. The Journal said the Apple tablet will have a 10- to 11-inch screen and will begin shipping in March 2010.
Apple announced what it calls its "latest creation" at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, California at an invitation-only event held at 10:00 AM PT time on January 27, 2010.
This marks the first major product release by Apple since the popular iPhone was announced three years ago. Although no price point has been set, some are speculating the hot new product could cost upward of $500 dollars.
Like its other recent products, the iPad will likely become a game changer in the technology and retail industries, putting pressure on the popular Amazon Kingle and relatively new Barne's & Noble Nook, both of which were earlier entrants into the growing e-reader tablet market.
Although Amazon and Barne's & Noble have a head start, it is important to note that Apple was also a late comer to the MP3 and cell phone markets, but it become the dominant player in these markets due to a talent for creating and popularizing innovation. The convergence of a smartphone and a tablet reader will set it apart from others in the field, and is likely to give it the momentum to become a category leader.