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February 17, 2010

iPad therefore iAm?

One of the worst-kept secrets in technology is finally out. Apple is releasing a tablet PC, called the iPad. The 9.7-inch touchscreen device is being pitched as an alternative to netbook computers, something Steve Jobs called "slow, clunky, just a

By Cbr Rolling Blog

One of the worst-kept secrets in technology is finally out. Apple is releasing a tablet PC, called the iPad. The 9.7-inch touchscreen device is being pitched as an alternative to netbook computers, something Steve Jobs called “slow, clunky, just a cheap laptop,” while the iPad is “revolutionary and magical”. But what did the blogosphere make of it? CBR finds out.

“At first glance it resembles an iPhone in unhandy, non-pocket-sized form. But look a little longer, and… Nope. You were right first time,” wrote Charlie Brooker in the Guardian. “Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. Apple excels at taking existing concepts – computers, MP3 players, conceit – and carefully streamlining them into glistening ergonomic chunks of concentrated aspiration.”

“Now it’s taken the MacBook and the iPhone and distilled them into a single device that answers a rhetorical question you weren’t really asking. The iPad falls between two stools – not quite a laptop, not quite a smartphone. In other words, it’s the spork of the electronic consumer goods world,” he continues.

Describing the iPad as a “solution looking for a problem,” CBR’s Jason Stamper asks if it is really a new category of device, as Jobs has claimed. “I fail to see that it is,” he wrote. “Tablet computers have been around for many years. What makes the iPad drastically different? It runs a different operating system (most others run Windows or Linux) and because it’s from Apple, integrates well with the likes of Apple’s iTunes and its online iBookstore, and can run all the apps than run on the iPhone. That’s about the long and short of it.”

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Timothy B. Lee, who describes himself as a lifelong Mac fanboy, says he’s disappointed with the device. “I don’t understand who this product is marketed for, and I’m disappointed that Apple has decided to adopt the iPhone’s locked-down platform strategy,” he writes. This has been one of the more popular criticisms of the iPad, that users are locked down to only running apps approved by Apple.

“The iPad appears to be Steve Jobs’s attempt to roll back the multi-decade trend toward more open computing platforms. Jobs’s vision of the future is one that revolves around a series of proprietary “stores”–for music, movies, books, and so forth–controlled by Apple. And rather than running the applications of our choice, he wants to limit users to running Apple-approved software from the Apple app store,” Lee continued.

Gadget blog Gizmodo was one of many sites to produces a “what’s wrong with the iPad” list. Their criticisms include: Big, ugly bezel; no multitasking; no camera; touch keyboard; no HDMI out; the name; no Flash and the fact that you need adapters to plug external devices into it. “No Flash is annoying but not a dealbreaker on the iPhone and iPod Touch. On something that’s supposed to be closer to a netbook or laptop? It will leave huge, gaping holes in websites. I hope you don’t care about streaming video! God knows not many casual internet users do. Oh wait, nevermind, they all do,” Adam Frucci wrote about the lack of Flash on the iPad.

But it wasn’t all bad. David Pogue in The New York Times said: “Until I saw the demo, I wondered why you’d want an iPad instead of a laptop. Now, though, it looks like Apple really has created something new. Criticisms of “Like a laptop” and “a big iPod Touch” don’t really do justice to the possibilities,” he says. Activities such as “web browsing, painting programs, TV and movies, newspapers and magazines” will all come naturally to iPad users. Initial tepid reaction to the device was part two of what Pogue describes as, “standard Apple new-category roll-out” response, which follows phase one – “months of feverish speculation and hype online, without any official indication by Apple that the product even exists.”

Phase three will arrive when the iPad is finally released and people can get their hands on one. “Positive reviews, people lining up to buy the thing, and the mysterious disappearance of the basher-bloggers,” is what we can expect.

Nicholas Carr, writing for The New Republic, says the iPad is a PC-killer. “The PC era ended this morning at ten o’clock Pacific time, when Steve Jobs stepped onto a San Francisco stage to unveil the iPad,” he wrote. “Because the nature of personal computing has changed. Until recently, we mainly used our computers to run software programs (Microsoft Word, Quicken) installed on our hard drives. Now, we use them mainly to connect to the vast databases of the Internet–to “the cloud,” as the geeks say.” Carr echoes Pogue’s thoughts that the iPad will be ideally suited to heavy consumers on media in its various forms – songs, TV shows, movies, games, the printed word. as he puts it.

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