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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s official. The iPad, the long awaited tablet from Apple was just announced. As many had speculated, the iPad is running off of the iPhone’s OS. In terms of looks, it looks like a bigger version of the iPod Touch, which is not a bad thing. To date, the iPod is still one of the prettiest pieces of tech out on the market. The iPad is rocking a 9.7-inch screen and has fully capacitive multi-touch. It comes with three levels of flash memory: 16, 32, 64GB. There’s an accelerometer and it’s 802.11n wi-fi compatible.

Functionality-wise, the iPad is a jack of all trades. It can do just about everything except make phone calls. There’s also no camera or flash support, which is sort of surprising. That means interested consumers (and that covers just about the whole world at this point) can expect to walk away with a serious multimedia player that’s sporting a dedicated web browser and e-reader.

During the presentation, Steve Jobs showed off some of the basic features of the iPad including the customizable homescreen, the large onscreen QWERTY, and email capabilities. iTunes is built into the device as is the app store. The latest addition to the Apple store family is the iBook store. That’s right, Apple is opening it’s own bookstore and according to the early speculators it might be a “Kindle Killer”. Jobs also pulled up the web version of the New York Times which according to Engadget’s live blog, went over well. The beautiful color and responsive touch gestures can potentially open new doors for the magazine publisher that’s savvy and innovative enough to make it work.

And while the bookstore is big news, video shouldn’t be overlooked. During the demo, Jobs played “Star Trek” and it was well received by the audience. There’s no official word on the actual resolution, but that might not be as important as what’s powering the pretty pictures. The iPad is the first product to house the 1GHz “A4″ chip.

Here are the bummers, aside from having absolutely no camera and no flash support, there’s a couple of  downers accompanying this announcement. There’s no dedicated 3G unless you want to sign up with AT&T. Yep, AT&T continues to suck at the golden teat that is Apple offering an unlimited data plan for $29.99 or a $15/month plan that gives you 250GB of data.  There is no contract for the data plan and it is prepaid.  The other bummer is the battery life. Jobs said that the iPad will get 10 hours of battery life, which doesn’t seem bad, but the actual battery never seems to live up to the hype.

And that leaves with the price. If I were a betting type of chick, I would have went all-in on the thought that the iPad would cost us an arm and a leg…and I would have been wrong. Apple has shockingly decided to go the affordable route. The 16GB version of the iPad is $499 without 3G with the 32 and 64GB versions costing $599 and $699 respectively. If you’re interested in the 3G version the prices jump to $629, $729, and $899.

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Clutchettes and Gents – are you copping the new iPad?

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