I was there along with everyone else watching the live stream and reading the live blogs of the Apple iPad being unveiled today by Steve Jobs. And I was impressed, for a time. Then reality kicked in, and it became more about what was missing and what was bad than what was present and good. Once again, Apple is offering style over substance.
I don’t like Apple. I’m happy to admit that. I hate the hype, I hate the fanboys, I hate the (over)pricing of all its products. However, while I would never buy a Mac, I cannot deny that some other Apple products have piqued my interest. The original iPod set a trend, and the iPhone and iPod Touch are truly great innovations.
First the good: The entry price point of $499 was a surprise and does mean the iPad will sell. The iPad looks fantastic, and by all reports feels great to hold and use. It’s fast and responsive, the battery life of 10 hours is fantastic, and the $30-a-month unlimited 3G deal is very nice. The improved iWorks looks nice, and iBooks means the Amazon Kindle’s days are surely numbered.
Now the bad: The price ramps up quickly for the larger hard drives and 3G models. The 3G deal is only with AT&T. There is no multitasking, which means the iPad cannot possibly hope to compete with laptops or even netbooks. There is no camera, meaning no Skype or video chat. There is no Flash support, meaning casual games, video sites, and graphic-heavy Web sites are going to be a no-no. The name is catchy but it does sound like a sanitary towel, and is a little close to iPod for comfort. Non-optimized iPhone apps look terrible on the iPad. There are no USB ports, no HDMI port, and no GPS.
As you can see, the bad clearly outweigh the good, which is a real shame as the iPad could have been brilliant. The thing is, it’ll still sell like the proverbial hotcakes, and even I, after pointing out its many flaws, want one. However, rather than being an essential purchase, I think it will remain a luxury gadget until some of the wrongs are put right. My advice? Wait until iPad Mk II.