The Apple Tablet is out, and it’s called… not iSlate, not Canvas, but – iPad!

The Apple Tablet is finally here! After months of speculation regarding size, connectivity, processor, OS and of course the name, our favorite black turtlenecked gentleman has come up with something that may just create a new niche of tech users.

As WSJ says, “Last time there was so much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it”.

Less than 14 hours ago, Jobs pulled out this beautiful, brushed-aluminium unibody device. He turned it around, and showed it to us – we could see that it was exactly 0.5 inches thin, and he told us it weighed 0.68 kilos – 1.5 pounds for you across the pond.

He opened up the NYTimes on it, casually sat down in the loveseat, held it in one hand, and… had the time of his life. He showed off the UI, accelerometer, the almost life-size touchscreen keyboard, the Photo manager, music player and movie-watching capabilities. Oh, and Safari, and the delectable iWork for iPad that now allows point-and-type edits, rather than tiresome and complicated scrolling to find your way along. And so much more that we’ll gradually get to telling you about over the course of this week.

The Apple iPad is, till date, a one-of-a-kind device – so new that no one really knows what to think about it or what to predict, myself included. Right now, I’m wondering if the youth will choose the Tablet as their tech toy of choice rather than an iPhone or iPod Touch, and then I start wondering why someone would want a device without a keyboard, without Flash, and without multitasking capabilities.

Without wasting time rambling, let’s get down and dirty. What can the iPad do, and how well does it do it?

Regular tasks like email and web browsing are a snap on the iPad. Email supports attachments in multiple formats – all the iWork and MSOffice formats, other text formats, images, PDFs… the works.

All the iPhone apps can be used on the  Apple iPad – either in their normal size, or expanded to fill the entire 9.7 inch screen of the iPad. Developers are already gearing up to produce dedicated apps for the iPad, so keep checking for the perfect app you didn’t know you need! Photo sharing is bliss with the Photos app, which works just like the iPhone. It syncs with both Windows and Mac, as well as getting photo data from iPhoto if you’re on a Mac.

The academic geek in me, though, has developed a huge soft corner for the iWork on iPad. No more scrolling left, right, left, up, down and right again to hit the exact cell I wanted to edit. Now, it’s point-and-type heaven for editors (and compulsive proofreaders). Also, who can ignore the iBookstore, which works with the iBooks app and currently stocks books from 5 of the top publishers? Virtual bookshelves, here we come!

The greatest appeal of the Apple iPad, IMHO, lies in its simplicity and intimacy. Does anyone remember the flood of emotion that accompanied opening much-awaited letters – touching the surface, kissing it, holding it at arm’s length, staring at it, kissing it again and dancing around the house to show it off? Well, say hello to that feeling again – this time, without the environmental concerns of wasting paper!

What makes the Tablet a winner, ultimately, is the price tag. Starting at $499 and going up to $829 for the 3G-enabled varieties(more on that later), the Tablet is eminently affordable. Rather than entering the Netbook segment, Apple has absolutely killed it – and the eBook reader – with this one!

PS: Yes, I get those iTampon jokes. I really do. But… iPod, iPhone, iPad. I suppose the combination was hard to resist!