by Michael Shapiro | March 10, 2010

Amidst a massive frenzy of hype, Apple unveiled the tablet device about which rumors had been reported for years. The iPad was announced on Jan. 27, generating oohs and ahhs and boos and gripes across the geekosphere. The device looks like an overgrown iPhone (with a 9.7-inch display), and will come in 16, 32 or 64GB sizes, with either Wi-Fi or both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. The 'Pad will run the OS used by the iPhone and iPod touch, meaning it will run all apps created for those devices. The device is powered by a brand-new Apple-designed chip that the company claims is powerful enough to make the iPad an advanced gaming gadget, and features low-power consumption sufficient to deliver 10-hour battery life. The iPad will also compete with Amazon's Kindle and offer a high-resolution color display and choice of fonts for its new, e-reading iBooks application. The major book publishers have signed on to provide content to the new iBookstore, as have newspapers and magazines. An iPad-specific version of iWork also is on the way, delivering optimized versions of Apple's word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs for $9.99 each. Apple is promising a dock with a full-sized keyboard, too. The iPad will start at $499; the Wi-Fi version is expected to ship in March, and the 3G version in April.