Of course Apple's iPad does video. Duh

Apple introduced its long-anticipated iPad tablet today, celebrating the success of iPad's siblings, the iPhone and iPod Touch, and promising the iPad would bring more functionality to mobile devices, including a full range of online video options.

"There is room for something in the middle," Jobs said of the iPad. "If there's going to be a third category, it has to be better at (Web browsing, email, photos, video, music, games, and e-book reader) -- otherwise it has no reason for being."

From the looks of things, Apple's iPad has plenty of reasons for moving into the company's mobile lineup. Three distinct flavors of the iPad will be available starting in March: Apple said it will release a WiFi-enabled version with 16 gigs, 32 gigs and 64 gigs of memory, for $499, $599 and $699 respectively. Thirty days after those iPad tablets start selling, Apple will roll out a 3G version for an additional $130.

Apple said the 3G versions of the iPad will have two data plans available, $14.99 for 250 MB a month, or $29.99 for unlimited data. Both data plans for the iPad are exclusive to AT&T, and, in a major change of direction for the telecom, neither requires a contract, so users can dip in and use 3G, or cancel service whenever they wish. Plus, Apple says the service can be activated from the device itself

The 9.7-inch, color, multi-touch iPad tablet device has a 10-hour battery life, Jobs said. The iPad weighs 1.5 pounds and is just .5 inches thick. Jobs said the iPad tablet was far ahead of the current crop of netbooks being offered by other manufacturers, devices he said were just "cheap laptops."

The iPad will play video naturally via iTunes, or through other apps like YouTubeHD. One concern is that -- at the moment -- there's no Flash on the iPad, which means content on some sites won't be able to load (no, you won't be able to view Hulu, either). But the movies and TV episodes available through the iTunes store appear to play beautifully. One especially nice touch for print publishers looking to the iPad to help keep them relevant in today's video society, is that online video can be embedded right in a story, so it can be used to help create a multi-media presentation for readers looking for more than static photos.

With all of the iPad's video functionality, it's a little surprising that the iPad tablet doesn't have a camera -- still or video. It seems like an pretty startling omission since virtually everything Apple produces seems to have a lens attached (although video didn't come to the iPod for a couple of generations).

Meanwhile, one of the more pleasant surprises for baseball fans was the announcement that MLB.TV would be available on the iPad. The service, which streams live, out-of-market games and other features, was part of the demo of the iPad's video capabilities. Its inclusion could turn another chapter in the online video saga when the iPad takes off this spring.

For more:
- see this PC World report
- check out a video