We asked some of our favorite geeks and tech journalists to chime in on the new Apple iPad. Here are their takes:
The most important news is what this means for consumers: They have choice in eReaders. The Kindle looks like a toy in comparison, with a similar price point, so it won't be attractive in the Nintendo DS/Sony PSP way.
It also means that people like myself won't have to squint with my +40 eyeballs at my iPhone in bed, and I can keep my wife up in bed with the fulsome glow of a large tablet screen if she wants to hook me up for my birthday on March 5 when the tablet is available at the Apple Store in the Meatpacking District, a comfortable, rose-filled 15-minute walk from our house, just saying.
Also, no one else has the current capability to do this. Apple has this market to themselves, and by the time MSFT/GOOG release a competing device, my money would be on the "game over" side of the roulette wheel.
Last but not least, we can all see a near-term future where no one talks to anyone, we all cuddle with our devices in the corners of our respective abodes, communicating silently with family members and the outside world with gentle caresses of our steel-enclosed devices, oblivious to rain, snow, sun, seasons or whatever.
Dystopia is here; it will just be distributed unevenly until the price comes down.
Ian Spalter, Creative Director, Mobile & Emerging Platforms R/GA
It covers at least 80 percent of daily computing tasks, and does them better than a laptop or an iPhone.
It marks a new category of devices that will evolves what computing means. I think we've seen from other attempts at tablet computing that nailing the fundamentals of speed, quality, energy consumption and ease of use is a challenge. Apple has broken through that wall and at an affordable price.
The iPhone and multi-touch reset user expectations of how they should be able to manipulate content presented on screen. The funny part is that it reset these expectations to what is actually most intuitive, removing the middlemen (mice, keyboards) and bringing you closer to content.
The iPad takes this even further, by adding the horsepower of a laptop with the form factor of a thick piece of paper.
Tech & Media Exec (who needs to remain anonymous)
1) The product as shown today will NOT be the bulk of iPad sales in five years. Apple constantly upgrades its product line and adds more features and / or lowers price (compare the original iPhone three years ago with the current 3GS). With 4G, more storage (128GB), video conferencing and tailored applications this product may dominate the way many leading edge consumers (youth, student, urban) interact with media and each other. MSFT and the CE (Sony, Dell, etc.) community should be very afraid.
2) Products like this will not only accelerate the shift of people away from the cable providers video services (with iTunes), but will move them from non-wireless broadband at home (with AT&T and VZ picking up the slack), since it will be easy for those telcos to bundle HS data plans with this device at point-of-sale.
3) Amazon and other retail stores have already felt Apple's presence in music and video. They may may huge inroads into the book market (esp. if textbook providers push this), which could alter those companies growth plans
4) This could take multimedia social networking to the next level (once it gets video conferencing, etc.). The key is to view Apple's devices as platform / category plays, rather than one-offs. No one thought that third-party apps would become a daily part of our lives with the orginal 2G iPhone launch. I can't wait to see what devs do with this in a few years, when the third rev of this device is out.
All in all, today may have been a let-down with all the hype, but this will be a pretty big deal in a few years.
Hassan Miah, CEO, UrFilez.com
The iPad will redefine the PC away from the traditional keyboard-based device. What is already happening with the mobile phone is now happening in laptops.
The Kindle made the eBook viable and attractive, but it is still an incremental device. It works because it is light enough for consumers to carry another device. The iPad is a replacement device.
The whole iPhone app market now has a new outlet. Expect to see another boom in applications. The content creators will have another chance to create a market. Everything in iTunes can now be in iPad which will make video amazing and a great new marketplace. Content owners should rush to define the market unlike what happened in music.
Google is sure to create an Android version of the same thing. Expect lots of new imitators based on the Google Android platform. Microsoft may once again become the biggest loser as the Windows-based machines look increasingly dated.
Roger O. Crockett. Tech and Business Writer
Overall, the iPad seems to be another slick device from Apple, who does slick like no one else. But it seems to me to be nothing more than a strong entry into the eReader category. For those in the market for an eReader this has all the bells and whistles. But to me there is nothing "revolutionary" about the iPad.
And its audience might be limited due to the cost: A Kindle is affordable. But of course, it lacks all the nifty apps that the iPad comes loaded with. Apple has never shied away from charging a premium for its gear. And they don't shy away here. $800 for the largest capacity iPad PLUS another $30 a month for an unlimited wireless plan from the cell carrier, AT&T. But as far as I can tell that plan is ON TOP of your current data plan. Ouch!
Omar Wasow, Co-founder, BlackPlanet.com, Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University
The interface design and engineering look amazing. As a grad student, I want one now simply to make reading pdfs easier.
Still, I wonder how it feels day-in and day-out. Could typing on a touch screen really be "a dream?" Might crouching over a notepad be less comfortable than hunching over a laptop? As light and thin as it is, will holding the iPad while reading/watching/surfing be tiring if it's not resting on a surface?
Also, I'm still unclear about the core customer and killer apps. Are print media consumers the core audience? Video consumers? Photo consumers? All of the above? Can it really substitute for a netbook? Will students go for it instead of a laptop?
I can see it being a techie household's second screen for enjoying digital media, especially if it is used as a high-end digital picture frame, too. I'm not sure anyone would use it as a primary computer or communication device.