The Apple hype machine was firing on all cylinders this month, and yesterday they finally unveiled their latest creation: the iPad, a large, thin “tablet” with a touch screen, based on the iPhone operating system.
The iPad works the same as an iPod Touch or an iPhone, but it’s much larger, it can play movies and other video content on demand, and you can purchase and read books on it.
However, you can also use it in some of the ways you use a computer. You can attach a physical keyboard, load photos directly from your camera, and use Apple’s iWork applications (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote).
Is the iPad innovative, or a repackaging of ideas that have been tried before? Perhaps both. The iPod and iPhone weren’t wildly original in a technological sense, but Apple sure did think through how people want to use these kinds of products, and have succeeded wildly, while those with similar devices have stood by shaking their heads. In this case, Microsoft has offered a tablet version of their Windows operating system for years, to little real interest. (In fact, they and HP just made a big announcment about a new tablet three weeks ago, and no one particularly cared.)
Will the iPad succeed? It’s hard to say. People need computers, portable music players, and mobile phones–though not that long ago, none of these existed. Apple is as well poised as anyone to convince them that they do. We personally don’t see it replacing the laptop, but we do see it on end tables in living rooms, and competing fiercely with Amazon’s Kindle e-Book reader for carrying a virtual pile of books in advance of a vacation. We can’t wait to get our hands on one!
If you want to immerse yourself in Steve Jobs’ legendary Reality Distortion Field, you can watch the announcement yourself at http://www.apple.com/ipad.
Read on for the specifications and what the top reviewers think.
- Dimensions 9.5 x 7.5 inches, screen is 9.7″ diagonal
- Weighs 1.5 pounds
- Multitouch screen
- Up to 10 hours of battery life
- Available with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of memory
- Available with just Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi and 3G
- Price ranges from $499 to $829
- Runs all the Apps from the App Store
- Can watch YouTube videos, listen to music with the iPod app
- New iBooks app for purchasing books
It’s available in late March for Wi-Fi model, April for 3G + Wi-Fi model. For more info you can go to Apple’s iPad page.
Here’s a roundup of thoughts and comments on the iPad from the top Mac and tech writers around the country. And as soon as we get our hands on one, we’ll give you our impressions!
Andy Ihnatko at the Chicago Sun-Times:
“It’s beautiful. It’s elegant. It’s useful. And it is indeed just an iPhone with a glandular condition.”
“The iPad’s $499 minimum price causes enormous problems for makers of any tablet-ish device.”
“At first glance, and while we are admittedly still within the Reality Distortion Field, the iPad looks like a winner. The hardware looks sufficiently capable, the use of the iPhone OS means that it will have a huge app library from day one, and the price is far more reasonable than many feared.”
David Pogue at the New York Times:
“The iPad as an e-book reader is a no-brainer. It’s just infinitely better-looking and more responsive than the Kindle.”
“Overall, the iPad seems like a dream screen for reading and watching–at some loss of convenience in creating.” “It’s too early to draw any conclusions.”
Walter Mossberg of All Things D and the Wall Street Journal:
“The key to whether it can be the first multi-function tablet to win wide public acceptance probably lies in whether consumers perceive it as a suitable replacement for a laptop in key scenarios. And that, in my view, depends heavily on the software and services that flow through its handsome little body.”
“The device is handsome, feels comfortable and solid to hold.”
“The size of the iPad’s virtual keyboard may be a liability.”
“Since it’s too big to go in a pocket, people might perceive it as just another thing to carry around.” “It also lacks a common and popular laptop feature–a web cam.”
Jon Stokes, Deputy Editor: “It’s hard to see how the iPad is really the no-brainer upgrade over everything else in the world the way that the iPhone was when it was announced.”
Eric Bangeman, Managing Editor: “The $499 price tag puts it within reach of teens…and Apple will have another young, impressionable customer with a lifetime’s potential to spend in the Apple ecosystem.”
Nate Anderson, Senior Editor: “The iPad could easily replace a notebook in numerous scenarios… but only if it handles a mouse well.”
Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times:
“The reality was underwhelming….It’s hard to see Apple’s iPad as anything other than a mortal threat to Amazon.com’s market-leading Kindle reader. But depending on how the iPad is exploited, eventually it could be much more.”