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The Apple iPad. The name is a killing word — more than a product — it’s a statement, an idea, and potentially a prime mover in the world of consumer electronics. Before iPad it was called the Apple Tablet, the Slate, Canvas, and a handful of other guesses
We know there’s a lot of talk about reading with this type of display versus a Kindle or other E-Ink device, but we’ll just be straight with you — it didn’t hurt our eyes to use this as a reading device. You’re able to crank the brightness down a significant amount, but it’s also just a matter of adjustment. After a few minutes we didn’t see the device or the screen tech anymore — we saw a book. We won’t speculate on what prolonged use will feel like, but there is data out there that suggests the technology might not be as important as some people think it is when it comes to e-reader displays.
The finger-based navigation really is kind of spectacular, and it makes browsing weirdly like rediscovering an old friend. Other additions to the app like a proper bookmarks bar, use of toolbar drop downs, and an improved tab grid make it a pleasure to use. It is without question one of the best browsing experiences we’ve encountered. But is it the best? Well, not really.
Path one: the iPad as a computing revolution. Does the iPad evolve the personal computer in a significant way? Yeah, actually, it kind of does. Despite what you think right now, and despite the limitations Apple has put on some aspects of this device, what it says to the market is significant. The iPad is powerful, elegant, and largely unlike any computer you’ve ever used. You know how first generation games for a console look kind of dated when you put them against titles released after years of honing? Imagine what will be happening with something like the iPad in a year or two. This stuff is legitimately important. It’s not magical, but it’s a little bit revolutionary, and you have to at least give Apple that. They’ve pulled off a cohesive touch computing platform with very few rough edges — and that’s no small feat.
Path two: should you buy into the revolution today? The first thing that must be said — although we’ve already stated it — is that we don’t think the iPad is a laptop replacement. Not yet. What that means is that if you need a laptop to work in something like Excel, Word, or countless other PC or Mac applications, you shouldn’t expect the iPad to take its place. But, if you’re like a lot of computer users, you don’t really do much on your system except for listen to music, casually browse the web and read news sites, watch some online video, play games, and keep in touch with friends via Twitter, IM, and Facebook. If you fit that description, you might just fall in love with Apple’s $499 bundle of joy — because it does the majority of those things much better than its laptop counterparts (granted, one at a time, and, er… not online video).
So the verdict? The buyer of an iPad is one of two people, the first is someone who sees not just the present, but the potential of a product like the iPad… and believes in and is excited about that potential. This is also a person who can afford what amounts to a luxury item. The second is an individual who simply doesn’t need to get that much work done, and would prefer their computing experience to be easier, faster, and simpler. Does that sound like anyone you know?
UPDATE: Techcrunch dice la sua
I am easily able to type 50 words per minute on the large virtual keyboard. A physical keyboard is a nice add on when I’m in my office or hotel room, but it works just fine without it, too.
The iPad will put significant pressure on laptop sales, particularly second device laptops. And it will also have a devastating effect on single-use devices like the Kindle, unless the price of those devices drops substantially. I will quite happily read books on the iPad, and the battery really does last for up to ten hours.
And then there are the apps. Some of the iPads best uses are yet to be imagined. This is certainly an amazing game device and productivity tool. And I’ll happily consume massive amounts of music and video content on the iPad. Third party apps, and there are a ton of them coming, will make this even more useful.