Apple iPad Review Roundup: Lookin’ Good
I’m sure you busy VARs can kick back for a minute and listen to the buzz, right? With the iPad debuting April 3, it’s no wonder that notable reviewers have already gotten their hands on the tablet computer. Lots of the reviews are long and lengthy, but here are the highlights…and my critiques…
First up, Walter Mossberg, over at the Wall Street Journal. He had a very positive review overall, and despite any criticism, this quote sums up his experience…
So I’ve been using my test iPad heavily day and night, instead of my trusty laptops most of the time. As I got deeper into it, I found the iPad a pleasure to use, and had less and less interest in cracking open my heavier ThinkPad or MacBook. I probably used the laptops about 20% as often as normal, reserving them mainly for writing or editing longer documents, or viewing Web videos in Adobe’s Flash…
That’s the point and goal Apple is trying to reach entirely. Mossberg also found the on-screen keyboard to be useful for short and quick use, but not longer writing. But for longer writing, he found that Pages is a seriously useful App (although exporting to Word format feature had some issues.) Plus, his iPad lasted longer than 10 hours. Good news, indeed.
Meanwhile, David Pogue of the New York Times felt it was necessary to break up the review into two parts; for “Techies” and “Non-Techies.” As a techie, I kind of take offense to that. He defined a techie as someone with “more e-mail addresses than plants” and someone who “uses Bit-Torrent” and “runs Linux.” The techie review essentially trashed the iPad, calling it a giant iPod Touch, and found the on-screen keyboard useless. He also injected scorn into the fact that there are “hardly any buttons at all” and claimed the e-book reader app wouldn’t save the newspaper industry. He ended on this note:
The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money — with a full keyboard, DVD drive, U.S.B. jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works. Besides: If you’ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, who’s going to carry around a third machine?
Hello. Techie here — I run Linux, Bit-Torrent and do a whole lot more techie stuff than I Pogue does in his spare time. I find no issue with the fact that there aren’t any of the aforementioned “stuff.” The iPad is not supposed to be those things. This is the problem most people have wrapping around their heads, Techie or non-techie.
Here’s a perfect analogy: It’s like someone telling you “Listen, you’re going to hate this car because it’s not a truck.” But if you’re a truck guy looking to buy a car for a purpose, then you’ll buy the car that you’re looking for.
I guess to be cute, his non-techie review starts off again, “The iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch” and gives it a mostly glowing review. He also noted that the iPad played video for over 12 hours. But despite the upbeat critique, he finishes with this zinger.
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. The only question is: Do you like the concept?
Conversely, Andy Inhatko of the Chicago Sun Times spends a lengthy introduction on explaining where the iPad fits in the world, why it’s different from other tablet computers, and what that means for the user or any person — techie or non-techie — when they pick up the device.
[Apple has] thrown out all of the design elements [other tablet makers] included out of force of habit… What happens when computer designers lets go of every instinct that’s hardwired into their DNA, and starts practically from scratch? They create the iPad…It’s not every computer and every function. It’s a computer that’s designed for speed, mobility, and tactile interaction above all other considerations.
With the correct groundwork for a review laid out, Inhatko noted (like Mossberg) “It’s not a replacement for my notebook, mind you. It feels more as if the iPad is filling a gap thats existed for quite some time.” It’s a 3rd device that isn’t a burden, like Pogue’s techie review sugests, but rather a bridge between doing most of what you need with a lot less.
A lot of Apple fan-site sand rumor sites posted review round ups as well and the general consensus is almost entirely positive. A majority of people ‘get’ that the iPad is supposed to only do XYZ despite it not having ABC. There is concern about the lack of Adobe Flash, but a lot of sites have already started branding themselves as iPad ready. CNN.com, NYTimes.com, Reuters.com, ABC.com and CBS.com all have HTML5 video ready to go for consumers.
With the general verdict that the iPad “good” the only remaining verdict will be my own.
Expect a full hands on review as soon as I can get my hands on one.