The verdict on Apple’s iPad – view from the blogs

It is only hours later but already many blogs are saying the iPad is not all that it is cracked up to be. It is apparently a large iPod Touch or maybe it is more than that depending who you read. Whatever it is or not it seems a little too early to be pouring so much cold water on the launch.

People are saying some really nice things and voicing some disappointment. That was bound to happen. The hype was out of this world.

The tablet was going to save the publishing industry in terms of books, magazines and newspapers and now they don’t seem to think so, but they don’t know this for sure as it is all too early and no one has really seen the content. It is as if we had the speculation and then the launch and now the second wave of speculation like some endless carousel.

It is the content that will make or break the iPad. Okay, price as well, but we kind of already knew that. Apple does not do cheap, but it has also sold 250 million iPods; it is a $50 billion company and the biggest mobile app firm in the world. Nice numbers. What is certainly true is that the iPad is beautifully designed and great to use and you don’t get that cheaply. What you get cheap is a make-do bargain netbook PC and they do a certain job.

What they don’t do is even half of what an iPad can do even at this stage, but it is definitely a pricey luxury product and not the universal piece of tech that will quickly create a solid revenue stream for content providers.

People are saying it might take a year. Well that makes sense. If this is after all a device that will have a revolutionary impact (rather than being revolutionary par se) then it will take time for that content to be created and come forth and for that revolutionary change to take place with predictions of three to four million selling in the first year (let’s not forget the famous Slashdot comments writing of the iPod).

As for content. It seems almost like people have not had the time and maybe this was all rushed. People were under whelmed by the New York Times app. Clearly they wanted to be part of this, but the iPad seems more about what the paper will do with its paid content system and that isn’t arriving until 2011 and by then one imagines the app will have been better developed and finessed.

HERE’S WHAT THE BLOGS HAVE TO SAY — THE GOOD

It’s fast and beautiful
BusinessWeek The half-hour or so I spent playing with the iPad at its San Francisco unveiling yesterday was much too short a time to evaluate it authoritatively. What I can say is that it’s fast, beautiful and loaded with potential. I was struck by its speed and responsiveness. In the photo application, for instance, I could race through hundreds of photos in a blur.

Boy is it light
Wired.com The iPad’s really light and thin, weighing only 1.5 pounds and measuring half an inch thick. It was like holding a chubbier iPhone with a prettier face. You can tilt the iPad any direction, even upside down, and the screen will flip to display an upright image.

Great for browsing
Wired.com If you thought the iPhone’s browser was nice, you’ll love the tablet’s version of Safari. It’s been blown up and some of the buttons have been rearranged to better suit a larger screen.

It is just cheap enough
BusinessWeek “At that price, they’ll sell millions,” said Hakim Kriout, a portfolio manager at New York-based Grigsby & Associates, which owns Apple shares. “It’s very, very affordable for what it does. This is going to add a huge revenue stream for Apple.”

Ideal for that novel
Valleywag The silver lining for print media was in books. Jobs showed off an “iBook Store,” an iBook app for e-books, deals with five huge book publishers (Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillian and Hachette) and a format based on the open ePub spec. Jobs even said that textbooks would be a big part of it.

 

Could repalce the netbook or e-book reader 
Engadget
Will it replace my laptop? Never. But it could certainly serve as an able replacement for a netbook or an e-book reader — especially since I think the choice between a $489 Kindle DX and a $499 iPad swings firmly in favor of Apple. Like mostly everyone else on staff, I think the right approach to the iPad is to wait and see; I think the difference for me is that I’m assuming we’ll eventually see something good.

AND THE NOT SO GOOD

Disappointing keyboard
PCWorld
Like the rest of the OS, the touch keyboard is a larger version of the iPhone’s. But unlike on the iPhone, the keyboard has no letter magnification when you press a key, and I found I missed this visual cue immensely. And unsurprisingly, it lacks haptic feedback (part of Android phones). You get no physical or visual feedback when you press a key and that’s frustrating if you’re trying to pound out a long e-mail. The experience, oddly, is akin to typing on the native Android OS’ touch keyboard.

 

Not a new third category
Forrester
The question has arisen lately. Is there room for a third category in the middle?” I was sitting on the edge of my seat, ready to hear Jobs demonstrate that new category of device. But he didn’t. Instead, what Apple debuted today was a very nice upgrade to the iPod Touch. Don’t get me wrong. I love the iPod Touch and I was this close to getting one for myself. Now that the iPad has arrived, I can finally get one, the new, big one. But it’s not a new category of device. It doesn’t really revolutionize the 5-6 hours of media we consume the way it could have. It doesn’t even send Amazon’s Kindle running to the hills. In fact, the competitor likely to take the biggest hit from the arrival
of the iPad is Apple, in the form of fewer iPod Touches sold and fewer
MacBook Airs sold.

 

No drag and drop
Mashable
You won’t be able to drag and drop or share files with other computers like you can with your laptop on your home network. You won’t be able to download a program or music file from the web and play it on the spot. You won’t be able to use any application that doesn’t meet Apple’s strict approval guidelines. It’s closed computing at its most extreme.

Print media let down. No immediate wow content
Valleywag There was not one demo of an i-magazine, just a quick visit to Time.com, complete with a Flash media error (reportedly). No wired version of Wired, no singing verion of Rolling Stone, not even a video-enabled Sports Illustrated. That’s astonishing for such a sexy, high-resolution device that’s repeatedly been billed as a boon to magazine publishers.

Things were nearly as disappointing on the newspaper front. The Times did get five minutes to show off its own tablet app, but, as many others have noticed, it looked like a boring, warmed over version of the existing Times Reader. In fairness, the Times guys only had two or three weeks to work on the app.

A jack of some trades
Engadget What is was, however, was fairly underwhelming. Maybe underwhelming isn’t the right word. Unimaginative might be more accurate.

There’s no question that much of what the iPhone and iPod touch do translates nicely here, and there’s no question that some of the tweaks made to native iPad apps are impressive, but nothing I saw made me sit up and think, “Wow, I need this.”

Big and heavy ideal for three handed person
The New Republic The iPad is by no means a sure bet. It still, after all, is a tablet—fairly big and fairly heavy. Unlike an iPod or an iPhone, you can’t stick an iPad in your pocket or pocketbook. It also looks to be a cumbersome device. The iPad would be ideal for a three-handed person—two hands to hold it and another to manipulate its touchscreen—but most humans, alas, have only a pair of hands. And with a price that starts at $500 and rises to more than $800, the iPad is considerably more expensive than the Kindles and netbooks it will compete with.

The other  – The lingering questions
AllThingsD So, the iPad is more than just a giant iPod Touch or iPhone, even though it looks like one. But the question is, will that be enough to get consumers to shell out for it, and make it part of their daily lives? Or will it be a niche product, like Microsoft’s (MSFT) Tablet PC or Mr. Jobs’ own Apple TV?

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  • KEVIN WHITLOCK

    Just to put this into perspective – when the iPod launched in 2001 forums and tech sites were full of comments about how crap the thing was, and how it was going to be an epic fail (Mr Google or his friend Mr Bing can help here). Same with the iPhone – check out this, from Gizmodo http://gizmodo.com/5416765/top-5-assclowns-laughing-at-the-iphone-back-in-2007

    When I first saw Jobs unveiling iPad I thought it was a bit underwhelming. Later I watched the video on Apple’s site (www.apple.com/ipad) – very instructive, if you can overcome your urge to gag at Ive, Schiller et al’s gushing, and the rotten music. It is actually really rather good – very good in fact (although I think the inability to multitask is a bit of a backbreaker). The email and web browsing is superb, the best I’ve ever seen. Interestingly, some of the hacks who were similarly underwhelmed during the presentation were much more positive once they’d got to handle the device. I would imagine a lot of visitors to Apple Stores will come out clutching one once they’ve played with it.

    Of course, as with everything Apple, it’s best to wait until G2 or G3 before buying, but I think they’ve got another slow-burning iPod-type winner on their hands here. And for our industry, it could be very interesting indeed…

  • Jack Wallington

    “if you can overcome your urge to gag at Ive, Schiller et al’s gushing”

    Kevin – haha, that was the biggest shocker for me, how did that get approved?! Agree the official demo video commentary is vomit inducing but it does sell it far better.

    I’m half sold, but at the moment mostly because of my gadget obsession and not my need to have one. iPhone was a sure fire winner because no other phone managed to do all of the things I wanted except that. This doesn’t quite replace the laptop, and I think it needed to do that for me.

    The proof will be in the using.

  • Gordon Macmillan

    Agree with you both; I’m not any kind of Apple fan and don’t have an iPhone or a Mac but do like the idea of this quite a lot. The lightness, the screen and the content. I do quite want one.

  • Rory Sutherland

    These comments all miss one small but critical point – supposedly you can attach a conventional (or folding) keyboard to the iPad. This is something which Jobs has always vetoed for the iPod, despite many accessory-makers being eager to create iPod keyboards in the past. But the lack of innovation in terms of text-input is very disappointing.

  • http://community.brandrepublic.com/blogs/adifferenthat/default.aspx A Different Hat

    The problem with the iPad is that it is the medium not the message. Whether you want to read a story a hardback, a paperback, listen to an audio book or read it on an iPad, the challenge facing readers will be how to find out what they want to read next. And, as more and more bookshops close, thus reducing the opportunity for readers to ‘browse’, the challenge facing authors and publishers will be how to create awareness and the desire to read books they have written and published. I recommend http://www.Lovereading.co.uk.

  • http://www.all-auto.ro/piese-auto piese auto ieftine

    Let’s face it. At that money I was not expecting something better. Still worth the money.

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