Apple iPad with iBooksSteve Jobs has just announced the introduction of the much anticipated Apple iPad for only $499!  While it had been dubbed the tablet for a while, it has officially been named the iPad.  I have been following along on gdgt’s live coverage.

Here are some features:

  • Can be rotated and held in any direction
  • Web-enabled (um, duh) and extremely fast
  • Has a virtual keyboard
  • Video playback is HD, not widescreen however
  • iBook store enables instant download and display of books, newspapers, and magazines
  • Enhanced iTunes interface

At a glance this device appears to be an overgrown iPhone.  I should admit, I am a huge fan of the iPhone, I like its portability and slick design.  I also like my laptop for what it does.  Do I really need a new “netbook” device to combine the best of both features?  It seems to be eerily similar to the infamous Chevey El Camino – that mutant-like hybrid of a car and truck that some people had the nerve to buy.  Let’s be honest, the back had enough space to fit a 30 pound bag of dog food.

I don’t know that I would consider the iPad a replacement for either device.  Instead, it appears to be forging a new market.  A market catered to gamers, scholars, and hobbyist.  It is a device which allows reading of books, textbooks and changing of fonts, etc.  It seems to be in direct competition with Amazon’s Kindle device.  Although it has a lot more to offer – and a much more robust interface.  While the market has been somewhat slow to embrace the Kindle, we’ll see if things speed up now that Apple has entered the game.

I’m curious to see how the market will respond to this device. Would you buy one?