Apple has announced its much debated but long-awaited tablet device: iPad.

The iPad set the blogosphere alight in late 2009 after rumours were shored up by a report from The Wall Street Journal. Apple is lauding the devices physical statistics – weighing 0.68kg and only 13.4mm thick – as lighter and thinner than any netbook.

Conjecture surrounding the products release has focused on its ability to remake the publishing industry and, to a lesser extent, extend the growing app industry. Apple CEO Steve Jobs confirmed rumours of an ebook focus when he revealed Apple’s new iBookstore and a number of confirmed deals with major publishers: Penguin, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group.

The iBookstore could breath new life into newspapers, magazines and book publishing as well as presenting new opportunities for advertisers in these mediums. Several publishers began developing their offerings for eReaders and smartphones to significant success, as well as demonstrating the capabilities of the new medium including embedded video, music and links to etailers.

“iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”

For a live run down of the launch event, click here.