Apple takes on Amazon with launch of the iBook Store on the iPad

<p>Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has unveiled the much-anticipated &quot;iPad&quot; and announced that the company is taking on Amazon with the launch of the iBook and its iBook Store backed by five of the world&#39;s largest publishers.</p><p>The iPad will not be available internationally until &quot;June/July&quot; at the earliest. In the US the basic device will cost $499, with additional costs for more memory, and wi-fi or 3G plans. The device will ship in 60 days, with 3G models to follow after 90. It is not yet clear whether international users will be able to buy the device without internet access, or what price it will be sold at outside of the US. </p><p>But publishers will be most concerned with Apple&#39;s decision to rebrand e-books as iBooks, with Jobs saying that its iBook store would sit alongside its iTunes and Apps stores. The iBook Store has been &quot;supported&quot; by five of the world&#39;s biggest publishers on launch: Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon &amp; Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette, with Jobs promising to &quot;open up the floodgates&quot; for the rest of publishers from today (27th).</p><p>Random House is the notable absentee, as it was when Kindle launched internationally last year. Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum said in a statement that the publisher &quot;welcomes Apple&#39;s iPad and iBooks app and we look forward to our continuing conversations with them about how we might best work together&quot;.</p><p>Jobs said the company was targetting Amazon&#39;s e-book dominance in the US: &quot;Amazon has done a great job with the Kindle, but we are going to stand on its shoulders and go a bit further&quot;. The books are published in the ePub format, and displayed on virtual bookshelves, with the price shown on the featured book at the press conference $15, though others appeared to be priced cheaper. &quot;We think the iPad is going to make a terrific e-book reader not just for popular books, but for textbooks as well.&quot;<br /><br />The iPad will also be able to run the current iPhone Apps &quot;unmodified&quot;, with a function that automatically scales up the App to full-screen, called &quot;pixel-double&quot;.<br /><br />Much of the press conference was devoted to the iPad&#39;s music, video and gaming capabilities, with Jobs describing the device as a &quot;third category&quot; between smart-phones and laptops. He said it was &quot;much more intimate than a laptop, more capable than a smart-phone&quot;.<br /><br />The device is 0.5-inches thin, weighs 1.5 pounds and has a 9.7inch display. &quot;Thinner and lighter than any netbook,&quot; said Jobs. Its display was described by Jobs as &quot;super responsive, super precise&quot;. It has a battery life of 10 hours, and has got a month of standby life.</p><p><a href=" title=" from the event can be viewed here</a>.</p>