Apple’s Steve Jobs officially unveiled the iPad this week. It’s a tablet-style device that according to Jobs is “so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone.” It’s essentially a moderately-sized 9.7 inch touch-screen device with the functionality of an iPhone and more.
Tablet computers are certainly nothing revolutionary, having been on the market for years. However, Apple hopes to revive the unsuccessful tablet concept and market it to a new audience. The device is only 0.5 inches thick and will come in various models ranging in price from $499 - $829, all with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built-in. Apple’s website bills it as “The best way to experience the web, email, photos and video. Hands down.” Plus with e-Book functionality, the Kindle and Nook may have serious competition. The standard models will ship in late April with the 3G models shipping in May.
Here’s my take on it:
At first glance, it’s impressive and has a nice “wow” factor with it’s touch-screen and custom designed 1GHz Apple A4 processor. However, for me it’s a little lacking and a little disappointing.
When I heard weeks ago that Apple was going to launch a moderately-priced tablet computer, I had high hopes. However, this week I was a little shocked when I found out that’s it’s really just a huge iPhone! It’s not a true tablet computer at all. it won’t run native Mac OS apps like Photoshop, for instance. Plus the most storage space you can get is 64GB.
Here’s what I don’t get…
Let’s say I want to get a portable Apple computing device for under $1000. I can get the G3 iPad for $829 with it’s 9.7″ display and 64GB capacity. Then maybe I want a “real” keyboard, so I add on the Apple iPad Keyboard Doc ($69) accessory, for a grand total of $898. Or better yet, I can shell out a mere $101 more and get the base model Apple Macbook laptop with 13.3″ display and 250 GB hard drive (Just $999.)
So why exactly would I opt for the iPad? If I wanted to look cool hanging out at Starbucks surfing the net on my touch-screen device, then the iPad would be perfect. However, for the price point there are much more powerful options.
Apple’s certainly got their work cut out for them, trying to convince people why they need a giant iPhone for $500 and up. I think the iPad (especially the higher tier 3G version) won’t be an easy sell in our current economic climate. It’s shiny and new, but does it have the staying power of the iPhone and iPod? We’ll have to see what the future holds for Apple’s latest gadget.