Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday unveiled the iPad, the widely and wildly anticipated tablet computer that he called "a truly magical and revolutionary product."
"What this device does is extraordinary," Jobs said. "It is the best browsing experience you've ever had. ... It's unbelievably great ... way better than a laptop. Way better than a smartphone."
The tablet will act as a sort of missing link between the two. The model Jobs demonstrated at an invitation-only event in San Francisco operated without a hardware keyboard, with Jobs typing on its glass screen.
It has a nearly 10-inch screen, runs existing apps from the Apple apps store and is available in 16-gigabyte,32-gigabyte and 64-gigabyte versions, according to Jobs.
Jobs said the iPad will be lightning fast: "It screams," he told a crowd that included former Vice President Al Gore.
See CNN iReporters' reaction to the iPad
The device will have a1 GHz processor -- an announcement that coaxed "oohs" and "ahs" from the audience.
Pricing will start at $499 for the 16-gigabyte version, $599 for the 32-gig version and $699 for the 64, Jobs said.
Having 3G mobile access will cost an extra $130 on each, he said.
They are scheduled to begin shipping in 60 days.
Jobs and executives from other companies announced several new apps designed for the iPad -- including the New York Times and Major League Baseball.
Some members of the struggling print media have expressed hope in recent weeks that a popular Apple tablet could renew interest in their content while bringing new revenue through subscription plans or iTunes purchases.
Apple disciples -- and, yes, some await each new product announcement from the company with near cult-like devotion -- have been anticipating a tablet computer for several years.
The company has been considering designs for such a device since as early as 1983 and some smaller consumer-electronics companies already have rolled tablet computers onto the market.
At the event, Jobs demonstrated several functions on the iPad, including Google Street View and a reader function -- which he used to pull up the New York Times and Time magazine.
The tablet was expected to shake up the e-reader market by displaying books and newspaper and magazine articles on its color screen.