Apple surprises with $499 iPad

APPLE last night unveiled the iPad – a gadget it said would revolutionise the way that consumers surf the internet, watch movies and TV, and read books and magazines.

After months of hype, Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive, launched the tablet computer that sports a high-resolution 9.7 inch, full-colour touch screen in a conference hall in San Francisco. He said that fans of the phenomenally successful iPhone, which provided the inspiration for the iPad, would fall in love with the “magical and revolutionary device”.

One of the biggest surprises was the aggressive price. Analysts had been expecting entry-level models to cost around $700, but the cheapest iPad – with WiFi and a 16GB memory – will cost just $499 (£308.5).

The iPad, which weighs just 1.5 pounds and is 0.5 inches thick, will be available to order in the UK in 60 days.