The first iPad reviews have hit the Web and the consensus is that it's great. A look at what the tech experts are saying:
The NY Times David Pogue spotlights one of the iPad's main strengths: the experience of consuming media.
The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch.
The simple act of making the multitouch screen bigger changes the whole experience. Maps become real maps, like the paper ones. You see your e-mail inbox and the open message simultaneously. Driving simulators fill more of your field of view, closer to a windshield than a keyhole....
And the techies are right about another thing: the iPad is not a laptop. It’s not nearly as good for creating stuff. On the other hand, it’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it — books, music, video, photos, Web, e-mail and so on. For most people, manipulating these digital materials directly by touching them is a completely new experience — and a deeply satisfying one.
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.
Wall St. Journal's Walt Mossberg says it has the potential "to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop," but that all depends on how you use your computer.
For the past week or so, I have been testing a sleek, light, silver-and-black tablet computer called an iPad. After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop. It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades...
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.
USA Today's Edward Baig gives a thumbs up but notes its shortcomings, which include some videos not playing. (The reason has to do with Flash, but still, videos failed to play at Hulu and ESPN.)
The first iPad is a winner. It stacks up as a formidable electronic-reader rival for Amazon's Kindle. It gives portable game machines from Nintendo and Sony a run for their money. At the very least, the iPad will likely drum up mass-market interest in tablet computing in ways that longtime tablet visionary and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates could only dream of...
The iPad has its share of Version 1.0 inadequacies. It doesn't multitask, save playing iTunes music in the background. There's no webcam for those of us hoping to do video chats. The battery is sealed. It's too big for your pocket.
Videos failed to play at Hulu and ESPN, among other Web destinations. Why? The Safari browser on the iPad doesn't support videos based on the popular Adobe Flash Internet video standard.
The issue may be alleviated over time. Apple is backing an emerging video standard called HTML5. Just this week, Brightcove, whose video technology is used by many media companies, said it plans to offer HTML5 video streaming to its customers. The iPad can also display video at YouTube (there's an app for that), Vimeo and the White House website, whitehouse.gov.
USA Today's Jefferson Graham unpacks the device:
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said this morning that his initial estimates of 900,000 iPads sold in the June quarter and 2.7 million in calendar year 2010 “may prove to be conservative.”
Munster figures Apple is poised to between 200,000 and 300,000 iPads this weekend — in line with the 270,000 first gen iPhones it sold at launch. And he thinks the chances are good that the company will sell out of the device.