The long awaited Apple iPad is set to hit stores on Saturday, April 3rd. The lightweight touchscreen tablet, which some people describe as a large iPhone that can't make phone calls, is threatening to make laptop computers obsolete, depending on how you use them. Most of the early reviews are glowing. Here's a sample:
Aside from Apple enthusiasts, many of us wondered who would drop hundreds of dollars for this not-quite-computer. But having used the iPad for some time, I can tell you that the device just makes sense. When you combine basic-but-essential work tools with iWork, an improved browser, e-mail, iPod, and photo applications, a well-executed e-Book platform with iBooks, and throw in thousands of downloadable apps and games, and package it all in a gorgeous, slim slate with a beautiful 9.7-inch touch screen, you have yourself a winner. Is the iPad cheap? No. Is it flawless? Not at all. Omissions including support for multitasking, a built-in camera for video chats, and Flash support in Safari leave room for improvement, but otherwise, the Apple iPad is a very convincing debut. And it will undoubtedly be a driving force in shaping the emerging tablet landscape.
-- Tim Gideon, PC Magazine
The iPad is so fast and light, the multitouch screen so bright and responsive, the software so easy to navigate, that it really does qualify as a new category of gadget. Some have suggested that it might make a good goof-proof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they’re absolutely right... The bottom line is that the iPad has been designed and built by a bunch of perfectionists. If you like the concept, you’ll love the machine.
-- David Pogue, The New York Times
The iPad is not so much about what you can do — browse, do e-mail, play games, read e-books and more — but how you can do it. That's where Apple is rewriting the rulebook for mainstream computing. There is no mouse or physical keyboard. Everything is based on touch. All programs arrive directly through Apple's App Store. Apple's tablet is fun, simple, stunning to look at and blazingly fast. Inside is a new Apple chip, the A4. The machine is the antithesis of the cheap underpowered netbook computers that Jobs easily dismisses. "Netbooks aren't better at anything," Jobs scoffed during his January presentation introducing the iPad. "They're slow, they have low-quality displays and they run clunky old PC software."
-- Edward C. Baig, USA Today
My verdict is that, while it has compromises and drawbacks, the iPad can indeed replace a laptop for most data communication, content consumption and even limited content creation, a lot of the time. But it all depends on how you use your computer. If you’re mainly a Web surfer, note-taker, social-networker and emailer, and a consumer of photos, videos, books, periodicals and music—this could be for you. If you need to create or edit giant spreadsheets or long documents, or you have elaborate systems for organizing email, or need to perform video chats, the iPad isn’t going to cut it as your go-to device.
-- Walter S. Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal
As impressed as I am by the iPad, I’d soon go stir crazy if I had to rely on it as my one and only fulltime computer. I’m certain that Apple never intended the iPad to be used that way, anyway... But the iPad makes one hell of a mistress or boytoy. Go ahead into the office and enjoy the satisfying familiarity of your desktop computer or big laptop, along with the benefits of your lifelong relationship. And then later, after you’ve put your big notebook to sleep, when you want to cuddle up with something on the sofa or in bed, go grab the iPad.
-- Andy Ihnatko, Chicago Sun-Times