The iPad, tipped for release in Australia on the 24th of April 2010, is hours away from going on sale in the USA, but already, the critics who got access to the device under a strict Apple non- disclosure agreement are having their say.
The bottom line is that the critics love it as a consumer device; however, it does appear that as a techie device, the absence of an external keyboard and mouse is seen as a problem.
Writing for The New York Times, David Pogue said “The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch. It’s a half-inch-thick slab, all glass on top, aluminium on the back. Hardly any buttons at all – just a big Home button below the screen. It takes you to the Home screen full of apps, just as on an iPhone”.
He added “You operate the iPad by tapping and dragging on the glass with your fingers, just as on the iPhone. When the very glossy 9.7-inch screen is off, every fingerprint is grossly apparent. There’s an e-book reader app, but it’s not going to rescue the newspaper and book industries (sorry, media pundits). The selection is puny (60,000 titles for now). You can’t read well in direct sunlight. At 1.5 pounds, the iPad gets heavy in your hand after a while (the Kindle is 10 ounces). And you can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine – not even a Mac or iPhone.
“At least Apple had the decency to give the iPad a really fast processor. Things open fast, scroll fast, load fast. Surfing the Web is a heck of a lot better than on the tiny iPhone screen – first, because it’s so fast, and second, because you don’t have to do nearly as much zooming and panning.”
Arik Hesseldahl of BusinessWeek describes the new iPad as a netbook killer.
He said “It’s certainly no toy to me, but I can see how someone would come to that conclusion. Since so many have asked, I’ll answer the two most common questions right off, and then elaborate on them at some length. First, I don’t think the iPad is a Kindle killer. It’s rather more of a netbook killer”.
He added “The iPad is on balance very much as Apple has advertised it. Like the iPhone before it, the question to ask is not what it does, but what it doesn’t do. I’ve been thinking of the iPad as a device aimed primarily at media consumption, and there’s no question that it does that in spades.
“At one point this morning I left it propped up on my desk playing Led Zeppelin while I did other work. At various times I left it on my desk displaying a rolling slide show of photo albums, not unlike the digital photo frames that have been so popular for years. I’ve used it to watch scenes from the movie “Up” and from the recent “Star Trek” movie, and from an episode of the TV show “Glee.” I’ve browsed the Web, and watched some videos on YouTube, and read a few pages of the book “Winnie The Pooh,” and even used it to read and send a few email messages.
“If that were a more or less complete list of all the things the iPad could do, it would almost be enough. And yet the true possibilities seem more or less endless. The iPad that Apple provided me for testing purposes came loaded with numerous applications, and they show a great deal of potential, which leads me to believe that it won’t be long before those people who “don’t get the iPad” start figuring it out pretty quickly.
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“There’s not much to understand or figure out once you pick one up. If you can point, you can use it. This will make Apple’s task of educating those on the fence about it easier.
“Like the iPhone before it, the iPad is extraordinary for its simplicity, versatility and aesthetics. The iPad will in time be seen for having popularized a new branch of the personal computing family tree, one that sits between notebooks and smart phones, a type of device for which there isn’t yet a proper name. Those companies, most of them other PC makers, who have staked their futures and fortunes on the stripped-down notebook computers known as netbooks have the most to worry about. I briefly had a netbook, and I found it all but useless, too small and underpowered to be useful and engaging for any more beyond email. Others have said it, and it bears repeating: The iPad is a netbook killer.
The early iPad reviews are in and generally glowing. But they underscore a key question about the tablet computer on the eve of Saturday’s launch: Does the Apple iPad herald the next generation of personal computing, or is it just another nifty device some consumers will use for entertainment?
The Silicon Valley Mercury wrote: “It’s not quite a laptop replacement, but it can be adequate for light typing and viewing documents and other material.”
The iPad’s virtual keyboard gets mixed marks, but the screen and the device’s look and feel get a thumbs-up.
“Apple has pretty much nailed it with this first iPad, though there’s certainly room for improvement,” wrote USA Today’s Edward Baig. “What remains to be seen is how widely the iPad’s appeal will spread beyond early adopters and Apple acolytes.
Many consumers may not know whether they want the device until they get their hands on one. After a week of use, Wall Street Journal tech reviewer, Walter Mossberg said he could accomplish with the iPad about 80 percent of what he can do on his laptop.
“Because the iPad is a new type of computer, you have to feel it, to use it, to fully understand it and decide if it is for you,” he wrote.
The reviews suggest techies may be less attracted to the iPad than many consumers. David Pogue of The New York Times said those who do heavy lifting on their laptops and desktops are apt to find the iPad to be merely an oversized iPod Touch.
“The iPad is not a laptop,” he wrote. “It’s not nearly as good for creating things.”