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Steve Jobs' big announcement: the new Apple iPad at an impressive starting price of $499.

Apple’s New iPad: A Killer New Product at a Killer Price

The intersection between technology and lifestyle. Steve Jobs just announced the latest Kindle Killer — the iPad. And he may just have succeeded, while admittedly (before a live audience) "standing on the shoulders" of Amazon's breakthrough eReader.

At a starting price of $499, the iPad has a 9.7 inch color display, and is a mere half-inch thick (weighing in at a pound and a half). "The iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before," reads the formal press release from Apple following Jobs' live-event announcement in San Francisco, live-blogged by Blogcritics.

And with this new device, he may have just succeeded in seriously harming not only the future of the Amazon Kindle, but any eReader on the market. Because the iPad isn't only a reader — it's a high powered, elegant, and brilliantly priced new device from Apple. Yes, it has a built-in iBook store, with most of the major publishing houses all signed on to be in the iPad. But the built-in iBook store only scratches the surface of the iPad's capability and power. Built-in WiFi? Check. (Although you do have to pay for a data plan: $14.99/month for 250 meg of data; $29.99 for an unlimited plan. However, no contract is needed and activation happens right on the iPad.)

The iPad incorporates email, video viewing (in high definition), full-screen Internet browsing, mapping, and Apple's newly created iWorks suite for iPad. It's an iPod, a micro Macbook, and a game station all in one.

Using the tap and touch technology that makes the iPod Touch and iPhone so easy and intuitive, the iPad takes that game and goes pro with it. It is, in Steve Jobs' words, "a completely immersive experience."

There are two versions of the iPad: one with Wi-Fi and the other with both Wi-Fi and 3G, supporting speeds up to 7.2 Mbps. The first iPads will ship in about two months.

About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books.Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."

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