Initial iPad reviews are positive

01Apr10

Lots of people formed very strong opinions about the iPad when it was first announced. As is typical for Apple products, these generally fell into one of two categories: people gushing that it was an incredible piece of magical technology that would change everything, and the usual contingent of Apple-basers with their laundry list of complaints- no open development, no multitasking (although that looks like it’s going to be fixed) etc.

Me, I decided to reserve judgement, because I could see a lot of legitimate points on both sides of the debate. On the one hand, I find the iPad much more appealing than any netbook. I hate netbooks and always have: their tiny screens and keyboards and underpowered hardware just get in the way when you’re trying to run a desktop operating system, be it Windows or Linux. The iPad has a small screen and keyboard too, but- and this is the key difference- its operating system was designed for that hardware from the start, and it seems to work great, from all the videos I’ve seen. (Side note: I saw some attempts, most notably Google’s Chrome OS to make netbook-friendly operating systems, and I was looking forward to these, but I think Apple beat them to the punch. On top of that, I just like tablets more than netbooks: it seems like you can do more with the technology.

On the other hand, I had some reservations. Not really about Apple’s walled-garden approach to app development, mind you: no matter how much I try to fulfill my “proper” role as a geek and hate what Apple’s doing, I just can’t get upset about the App Store. I know this is only in my personal experience, but I haven’t seen more than one or two “rejected” apps where I said, damn, it would’ve been awesome to have that. And frankly, the selection of apps is so large (150,000 and counting at this point) that almost any functionality you could ever need is there somewhere. Nor was I concerned with the multitasking, mainly because the rumor mill assures us it is coming in 4.0.

No, my main concern was simply whether the iPad served any useful purpose. We already have laptops and smartphones: is there any room left for a device like the iPad? My gut reaction was no,  the device, no matter how awesome it may be, was pretty much superfluous, and I had a feeling a lot of people would agree with me.

Turns out I may be wrong. The media blackout on iPad reviews lifted yesterday afternoon, and they’ve been pretty much all positive. I’ve read the reviews by Xeni Jardin at BoingBoing, Walt Mossberg at the WSJ, and David Pogue at the New York Times (my perennial favorite source for in-depth product reviews, Ars Technica won’t have theirs until next week, but I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait), and they’re all quite impressed. I got the sense from each of them that using the iPad is like getting at a scratch on your back: you didn’t even know it was there, but it feels so much better now that you’ve taken care of it.

Mossberg’s review in particular interested me: he said that in order to really test whether the iPad made sense as a “carry-everywhere” device, he stopped using his laptop altogether, did his work exclusively on his iPad, and tested whether he was still able to get everything done. The answer was, for the most part, yes. This makes the iPad very tempting to me: if it can do essentially everything a laptop can do, why carry around a laptop? The 12-hour battery life (I was quite skeptical of Apple’s 10-hour claim, but the reality is even better!) doesn’t hurt either. I’ll want to wait a while longer to see if the iPad really can do everything I would need it to (and you should too), but this is a pleasant surprise.

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One Response to “Initial iPad reviews are positive”

  1. http://chapter-56.blogspot.com/2010/04/ipad-finally-portable-cintiq.html
    This intrigues me a little. How much is it? (Though I think I’d still much rather have a traditional convertible Tablet from Gateway or HP… One that is as light and thin as the iPad would be cool though.)


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