Of the three likely naming candidates (iPad, iSlate, iTablet), Apple went with my least favorite. Actually, I was hoping we’d witness a resurrection of the iBook moniker (for hardware). But iPad does make sense as this is the evolution (both in size and function) of the iPod experience. Which is actually my biggest concern. The upgraded iPhone OS (3.2) looks improved, with various overlays/windows and obviously more screen real estate to work with, but true multi-tasking and Abode Flash are still MIA. Additionally, Apple seems to be positioning the iPad as a computer accessory, rather than a computer… given the sync cable. On the other hand, the new, demo-ed apps (like the reimagined iWork or calendar) look powerful and should be able to function independently. Assuming we’ll have cloud or Time Machine backup capabilities available to us.
On the hardware side, there’s not a whole lot to say. Apple knows how to make attractive and powerful mobile devices. The iPad is no exception… slim, sexy, bright, multi-touch, with exceptional battery life. And Steve Jobs kindly answered my early morning request for a keyboard accessory. Use Apple’s existing Bluetooth keyboard or go with the charging dock/keyboard combo pictured above. But I’m not so sure my other request was addressed…
Unsurprisingly, Apple also announced an iBooks Store and reader to “go a little further” than Amazon’s monochromatic Kindle. But there was no mention of the monthly periodicals that I’d hoped for. However, there’s nothing stopping various publishers, or a third party, from producing magazine applications – the subscription model already exists within the App Store. And I imagine Apple has contemplated building this functionality right into iBooks.
Last, but surely not least, is iPad pricing. When you consider the original iPhone launched at $600, the $500 iPad entrance fee seems like a reasonable value. Sure, you could buy two Wintel netbooks for the money. And you’d probably want to upgrade to an iPad model with more capacity for more cash. But within Apple’s premium ecosystem, pricing looks good. Also reasonable is the $30 monthly fee for AT&T (?!) 3G service, should you opt for integrated wireless GSM capabilities ($130).
Given what we know, and I’m not convinced we know everything (other than no webcam or solar cells), and not having actually touched a unit (shipping in 60 days), are you in? I’m undecided at this point. The iPad 1.0 looks promising, but I don’t see it replacing my 13″ laptop and/or my 3.5″ iPhone. Which means one more device to charge and carry… with very little new functionality. Yet when I watch the iPad video, I feel strangely compelled to pull out my wallet. Hm.