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The long-awaited iPad, the tablet computer from Apple had its coming out party this afternoon and for a while, I wondered if the event was even worth watching. For the first half hour, Jobs droned on about web pages, video and email like they were some fantastic new phenomena we should all be wowed about. Finally, he got to the good stuff, the specs, the content, the apps, the price, the price!

But ultimately this an oversized iphone. It has some sweet little touches that Apple always manages to put into its devices, and it supports a keyboard, which is a must if this going to be a business device (I think it will be), but is it enough? Will this thing sell like iPhones? I'm not so sure.

It's Not Really an eBook Reader

While the device, has an ebook application, and it introduces an iTunes-like store for books (powered by a deal with several major publishing houses), it's not an eBook Reader. It will encompass many different functions into a single device, something that could push buyers who were on the fence about an eBook Reader. Analyst Michael Gartenberg said this device will put pressure on single-purpose devices like the Amazon Kindle. "The iPad challenges dedicated devices. It leverages multiple devices, and therefore it will be attractive to buyers."

Dude, Where's my iPhone

I think there's some truth to what Gartenberg says, but I also think I already have an iPhone in my pocket that has many of the same functions as the iPad. Sure it's a small screen, but I've watched video on it, read books, played games and done most of what they are trying to sell me on the iPad and I already own it. What's more I'm already paying $30 a month to AT&T for my data plan. The last thing I'm going to do is give that company one more dime, of that you can be sure.

But Gartenberg believes Apple's true aim here is to find a wider market for Apple's product and services. "This will help sell other apple products and services and other products and services will drive sales of the device." Maybe so, but I was stunned when Jobs tried to sell this thing by trashing the "smart phone." Don't forget his company is making a hefty living off the iPhone.

Content Partners Are Promising

When you look at apps like the New York Times on the iPad, it takes news to a whole new level, one that even the iPhone hasn't reached, and that will be Apple's challenge here. For the first half hour, I was incredulous that Jobs was simply recycling his 2007 iPhone speech. What Apple must do is make this device so much more than iPhone. It must take it a step beyond. So far, it's only done that on a couple of levels, and that's not enough, at least to me.

The price looks amazing unless you look at it the way my friend Julie Roads did when she scoffed that they leaked the $1000 price tag so that everyone would be floored and running to buy what suddenly seemed like the deal of the century when they came in at half that. I wouldn't be surprised.

Gartenberg believes that by hitting the right price points, Apple has given this device category a reason to exist. I'm still not convinced it has one, low price or not. I'm sure the early adopter crowd will grab theirs right away, but I'm left wondering if after really giving it serious thought, if the many of us who own iPhones are going to be getting an iPad any time soon. I could be wrong of course, but I just don't get a good feeling about this one. Sorry Apple.

Edited by Techwriter10: added a phrase

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I disagree. It definitely *is* an eBook reader, and from the initial info a far better one than Kindle. It is not *only* an eBook reader, but that is a good thing, not a bad one.

I also disagree that iPhone is an adequate platform for reading books, watching movies, or reading the NY Times. Ack - it's awful for that, very close to useless.

Perhaps I'm unduly influences by early adaperitis, but I think there is clearly a market for this device, and a potentially big one at that.

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But as I wrote, it's not just an eBook Reader. I've found the reading/viewing experience on the iPhone to be surprisingly good. We shall see, David. We shall see. I'll be the first one to admit I'm wrong if this thing sells, but as I said, I'm not so sure it will.

Thanks for the comment.

Ron

Edited by Techwriter10: n/a

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I wouldn't necessarily say that the iPad appears to be a better reader than the Kindle. The kindle is designed solely to be a reader.. right down to the "electronic-paper" display. Reading for an extended period of time on Apples iPad may or may not be as pleasing to the eye... or may not even be possible (depending on battery life - which is currently documented at about 10 hours).

Furthermore, the Kindle currently has WAY more e-books available for download than what is offered by iBooks (which are only available in the US).

Ultimately, I am really confused as to why anyone would buy an iPad?? What's the main functionality? When compared to a netbook, it seems limited and over priced. I mean $500 for a 16GB tablet that you have to use two fingers to type on? Am I missing something?

Edited by jay 11: specification

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I never went for the iPhone. Sure it's pretty, but I already have a company Blackberry with unlimited data. It's good enough. Then along comes the iPad. Suddenly my trust BB isn't "good enough" anymore. Plus I think that my technophobe wife would actually use an iPad.

Gotta have one!

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I agree with you that it's not really a revolutionary device for most of us. However, for my daughter and others who are visually impaired, this is most definitely a device that will significantly impact their lives. Because of its size and relatively low cost, the iPad will give them access to visual materials in a greater variety of environments - school, home, travel. Because of my daughter's low muscle tone, lugging around my laptop is out of the question. Thanks to iPad, I no longer have to wonder where I'm going to find a substantial supply of large large-print books for her to read... And that's not all folks... there are countless "Special Needs" students who learn better via computer than via traditional methods. And since many school districts can no longer afford computers, particularly not laptops, this is for them too. For most of us, it's a pretty cool device. For some of us, it'll open up a whole new world.

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Hi TechMom:
Thanks for the comment. I'm sure that's not an angle that many people have considered. Be interesting to see if it turns into a special needs education device.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

Ron

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It seems definitely a lot easier than carrying a laptop around when all you need is a screen for simple actions, though I can not see myself working on it, so I think I'd drag my laptop around anyway if I would need to do more advanced things like web developing or programming.

On the other hand, my BF already reserved one and I can't wait to actually work with the thing, I'm very curious to see wether it's really as cool as it is presented to be.

The whole thing is, quoting someone who had a good point there, a desire that you initially don't have, but which is created. Hence many people are pretty much drooling over it.

Edited by MHLut: n/a

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It seems definitely a lot easier than carrying a laptop around when all you need is a screen for simple actions, though I can not see myself working on it, so I think I'd drag my laptop around anyway if I would need to do more advanced things like web developing or programming.

On the other hand, my BF already reserved one and I can't wait to actually work with the thing, I'm very curious to see wether it's really as cool as it is presented to be.

The whole thing is, quoting someone who had a good point there, a desire that you initially don't have, but which is created. Hence many people are pretty much drooling over it.

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I just recently got the iPad and I find it to be a very nice mobile email, and browser. It's also a great eBook. Other than that though, everything else is too similar to the iPod touch. I guess it's just time until better apps come out. I do enjoy the device though for living room browsing.

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At first I didn't like the Ipad, but the more i seen it in action, the more i like it. The only bad thing about it is the fact that it doesn't have flash.

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Hi Johnnie:
I agree it's a bit of a pain without Flash and you do run into walls on certain sites, but overall I'm finding I really like it.

Thanks for your comment.

Ron

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