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Yes, there are many, many jokes on the name, but nevertheless, this appears to be an incredible device. As rumors suggested, it is indeed a large iPod Touch, with awesome specs. The specifications are 9.7 inch screen, 1.5 lbs, only 1/2 inch thick, 10 hour battery life with 1 month of standby time. Like the iPhone it also has Bluetooth 2.1, accelerometer, speaker, microphone, dock connector, and compass (which means built-in GPS). It will connect to the App store, and run on iPhone apps optimizing them for the new screen on the fly (something about pixel doubling – uhh ok 🙂 ). Apps will be developed specifically for the iPad, until then, we can run all iPod Touch apps that we already love on it.

Jobs said that this is not a netbook, notebooks don’t do anything well, but the iPad does. It runs on a new A4 processor at 1GHz, and it available with 16, 32, or 64gb of flash storage. Wireless is the latest, 802.11n, and of course it has Wifi.

Just the battery life is enough to get me. I love not having to worry about plugging in. 10 hours is incredible. That would last through plane trips, long road trips, conferences and more. There was not a lot of talk about the specs of the A4 processor, but it must not need much power at all which is awesome. I only wish that the iPhone had this great A4. Although lately my iPhone battery has been pretty good.

I think the price points are what shocked everyone the most. We were expecting probably one price point of $999 based on rumors. Jobs teased us with $999 on the screen then it shattered revealing that it will start at only $499.

The Wifi version is due to ship in about 60 days in March, with the 3G version to follow in April. The 3G connectivity will be handled by ATT which I think surprised some. But they made up for the shock with the data plan. They have teamed up with ATT to come up with a great deal for data packages. First, there is NO CONTRACT. If you get a 3G data plan, you can cancel whenever you like. Data plans come in 2 flavors, 250mb of data per month for $14.99, or an unlimited data plan for $29.99 a month. They marketed that well. I am certain that no one would want the 250mb plan. That would go fast. Steve also announced that all iPads are UNLOCKED for any GSM carrier allowing easy use when traveling overseas.

And in keeping with tradition, Apple has to give the competition something to think about starting with Amazon. Apple is launching an iBook app and iBook store to allow users to download E-books. Watch out Amazon. I do not own a Kindle, but I have played with one and compared to the iPad it is ugly as sin.

Although the screen is not a wide-screen reports are that it is still beautiful. The ratio is closer to 4:3 than 16:9, and it is HD. Movies looked outstanding. Steve showed a scene from Star Trek, and it looked awesome.

A new version of iWork seems to be the first software created to run specifically on the iPad which the apps priced at only $9.99 each. I wonder if other apps that are released will be in the same price range. With the larger screen size, it leaves a lot of room for current iPhone developers to really make their apps pop for use on the iPad. I’m sure there are already developer meetings being scheduled today to get the ball rolling.

Accessories so far include a sweet keyboard that plugs into the dock allowing you to prop the iPad up and use it as a traditional laptop, a kickstand, and silicon cases/covers that allow it to also be propped up.

Long story short… MUST.HAVE.IPAD. Why? Well.. it’s sweet of course. I am an Apple user at work. I love the Apple OS. I have an iPhone, and I love it. I can see using this a lot in my photography business and when I am roaming about.

For the full story from Apple and lots more specs and pics, head on over to the iPad site on Apple (yes, it’s live already). And make sure to click on “Notify Me” so you will know as soon as it is available in your area.