January 28, 2010, 8:04 AM — So here it is, the morning after. Apple's iPad is official. I've been watching Twitter and reading blogs in order to see how people are reacting to the announcement and it seems like Jobs & Co. have their work cut out for them. The internet turned on them with a vengeance and there was a lot of snark directed at Apple and the iPad yesterday. The biggest problem (in the view of Joe or Jane Tech Consumer) seems to be the fact that the iPad is "just a super-sized iPod Touch." I randomly started asking people what they'd expected and while some of them had very specific and valid concerns (no multitasking, no Flash support) many just said "I don't know...something more."
Something more. Contrast that desire to CNET's Rumor roundup scorecard: The iPad edition. The article illustrates that the rumor mill was pretty accurate this time around and some of the ones that were wrong (such as the OLED screen issue) had been debunked pretty effectively before the launch. So if Apple delivered a product pretty close to what the rumor-mill suggested it would, why are people so disappointed?
Press people who were at the event and got some hands on time with the device are having a more mixed reaction to the iPad. Relatively positive reactions came from VentureBeat's Dean Takahashi, TechCrunch's MG Siegler & GigaOm's Om Malik. On the other hand both Ars Technica and Engadget have posted reactions from various team members and neither publication seems overly impressed.
I may as well stick my neck out. I wasn't at the event so I'm basing my reaction on watching liveblogs and the same posts that you have access to. I want a tablet. I've wanted a thin, light tablet for a long while (I was pretty excited by the idea of the CrunchPad). I'm not 100% certain that the iPad is the tablet I want, but it may be. For my purposes the low end model would be perfect; I don't plan to store a lot of content on it, nor will I carry it around with me when I leave the house. I want a light cheap tablet that will live in the living room and bedroom so I can surf around and read the web (and e-books) while reclining. Balancing a netbook on my chest doesn't cut it, so don't give me the "A netbook can do everything an iPad can, and more" line that I'm hearing tossed out there pretty often.
I want something I can grab to access IMDB when we see a familiar face on TV and ask "Where have we seen him before?" Yes, I could use my smartphone for this, but I find using the web on such a small screen less than optimal. I don't want a netbook running Windows to do this because by the time it wakes up I've lost interest (perhaps a Chrome OS netbook would solve that issue). I don't need 3G since I don't plan to carry this device with me when I leave the house.
The iPad fills all these needs for me, and that's before I download a single app. As a gamer I can't deny that I also see the iPad as a pretty nifty toy.
The downside for me is that this is an Apple device, and that of course means a closed ecosystem. For that reason I may wait to see how some of these Android tablets turn out. My experience with using touch-enabled Windows hasn't been all that encouraging so the HP Slate doesn't interest me (perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised though).
So there's my take on things. The rumor mill was mostly right and we got the device we were expecting. Perhaps Jobs is a victim of his own past; everyone waits for "One more thing" and when it doesn't arrive they get disappointed.
I know plenty of you were less than thrilled with the iPad announcement, so let's hear what Apple could have done to make you a fan. Use the comment form below!