Apple has put an end to weeks of speculation by unveiling its tablet device, which it has called the iPad.
Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive unveiled the touchscreen device at an event in San Francisco.
Mr Jobs described the tablet, which will cost between $499 and $829 in the US, as a "third category" between smartphones and laptops.
The device, which looks like a large iPhone, can be used to watch films, play games and browse the web.
The firm has also done a deal with publishers including Penguin, Macmillan and Harper Collins to allow e-books to be downloaded directly to the device through a new iBook Store.
"You can download right onto your iPad," said Mr Jobs.
He also showed off magazines and newspapers on the device.
He told an audience of journalists, analysts and industry peers that the device lets people "hold the whole web in your hands".
"What this device does is extraordinary. It is the best browsing experience you have ever had," he said.
The device has a 9.7-inch multi-touch display, allowing people to type directly on to the screen, as well as manipulate pictures and control the action in games with their fingers. However, users can also plug in a keyboard.
Apple claim it has a battery life of 10 hours.
It comes preloaded with twelve applications - essentially multi-touch versions of existing Mac software such as iPhoto.
However, owners can also download third party apps - both specially designed for the iPad and those already available for the iPhone. People with both can synchronise their apps between the two devices.
"We think it's going to be a whole other gold rush for developers," said Scott Forstall, who runs Apple's app division.
Apple revealed that more than three billion apps have been downloaded from its App store.
The New York Times showed off its app for the iPad, which recreates the look and feel of the newspaper but allows it to have new features, such as video.
"We're pioneering the next version of digital journalism," said Martin Nisenholtz, a senior executive at the newspaper.
It also includes the firm's iTunes software built in, allowing people to purchase songs and movies straight to the device.
source : news.bbc