First off, let me say that I'm not an Apple fan. I do not (as many people do) think that Macs are the perfect computer, and I do not think that all other computers suck in comparison. At the same time, I am not against Apple completely. I believe that if Apple did not exist to rival Microsoft, Monopolysoft would sell us crappy computers that we could not even fathom. So in a way, I stand in the middle ground, so I'm hoping to be as unbiased as possible. I do also own an iPod Touch, as I've mentioned before, so I do know a bit of what I'm talking about, since the iPad has more in common with the Touch than with any other Apple product.
Now that that's out of the way, let me say that I'm not impressed with the iPad. The first time I heard of it/saw it was when I was in the Apple store waiting for them to check out my now deceased video iPod. I shook my head as I looked at the ad. An old lady that was getting help with a Mac was talking to a salesclerk about it, and I overheard her say "So it's like a giant iPod Touch?", to which the clerk responded with "Uhh....."
That's what it is. I hate to break it to you. Now I'm not saying that's a bad thing; new products can be based on existing products, that's fine. Netbooks are based on laptops, for example. But what is stupid is that Apple (and accordingly everyone who kisses Apples giant, shiny white butt) is claiming that the iPad is new and unique. It's not. Like in this article, here's what the author states about this very issue:
In many ways, the iPad is like a really big iPod Touch....But the iPad will also have apps designed specifically for it, which will set it apart from the iPhone and iPod Touch.That's not unique. Having apps designed for it is neither creative nor spectacular. It's standard. Can you imagine if you bought a $$$$$$$$ Apple product (I think I left off a few $'s) and it's features were that it only ran apps that were designed to run on a different machine? That's like if Nintendo's next gaming system could only run NES games. Having a product that has it's own apps does not "set it apart", it simply defines it saying "the iPad is not an iPhone or iPod touch". Well, duh, if it was, then it wouldn't have its own name.
The way I see it, the App store was here first. The idea of the App store precedes the iPad. So what's so unique? Just because you download apps that are designed to run on a bigger screen (and yes, maybe a tad more hardware differences) doesn't mean it's a brand new a idea. It's a very slight twist on an existing service.
The article mentioned above eBooks. This might seem different, but you can already use your iPhone/iTouch as an eReader. There are a ton of apps designed just for that. Heck, even Amazon released a Kindle app for Phones/Touches. Now some might argue that the iPad is better suited to work as an eReader. Is that true? Yes. I'm not arguing that. Reading any book on a iPhone/Touch is much less easy than using an actual eReader or an iPad. But again, Apple did not invent the eReader, they just included it. It's not "revolutionary" if the product already existed and has existed for quite some time.
So to summarize: the iPad can be used as an eReader and yes, that is a nice feature....but it's not new, and it's even close to "revolutionary."
Now again, I want to stress, I'm not saying that the iPad is bad or stupid, or even not worth the money. (I haven't even tried one so I can't say anything along those lines.) I'm just saying it's nothing new. It's not revolutionary, as much as Steve Jobs would love to call it that. It's a spinoff of the Touch. Is it useful? For sure. I can totally imagine circumstances where the iPad would be more useful than the iTouch, and vice versa. But calling it "revolutionary" implies that it will "revolutionize" how mobile computing is done, and I just don't see that.
But (if I can't stress it enough) it's not new. A netbook is a great product, and it is halfway in between a laptop and a smartphone. The iPad is (possibly) a great product, and it is halfway between a netbook and an iPod Touch. Halfway products can be great....just look at the spork. But they're not original.
I know it seems like I'm reiterating the same point alot, but that's because (a) I know that if this article were ever read, I'd have so much flaming from Apple fanboys saying "The iPad can do *feature* and *feature* and *feature*. How dare you say it's not good!", (b) an ad on Bestbuy's website is really what pissed me off, and (c) I'm tired right now.
I'm just sick of people treating the release of the iPad like the release of the iPhone. Yes, the iPhone was a new idea in many ways, and it has kind of set the standards for smartphones. But the iPad is a grandchild of that, nothing more. Could it start a spinoff surge of similar products, tablet PCs? Maybe, sure. But the iPad in and of itself is nothing new. So Steve, stop screwing around and change the ad to "A slightly tweaked and standard product", and maybe your product line wouldn't come off as being so snobbish.
Preparing for Apple fanboy flames,
PS - Notice how I avoided talking about specific features or lack thereof. If you really want to know about what I think about the lack of multitasking, how awkward it must be to hold it and use two hands to type, the fact that it's basically the iPhone without the phone or the iPod without the music so it's 100% focused on Apps mostly made by companies other than Apple, and the lack of flash which might lead to a possible lawsuit by Adobe, then I'll gladly share. But another time.