January 27, 2010, 2:52 PM — I wanted better. The iTablet iReader is the iPad, and it looks very much like a wider/taller iPod. I was looking for something more imaginative, but it's not there. Yes, like the Lenovo seen at CES, it can do Hulu and video. It's got a nice laptop-ish form factor. It's not really a replacement for a MacBook Pro. It has cute specs, though.
The iPad is a half-inch thick, has a ten hours of battery life, and has an ARM-compatible Apple 'A4' chip that runs at 1 gigahertz-- not astoundingly fast but probably designed for the ten hour battery goal. You can get it with 16/32/64 gigabytes of flash storage. No traditional hard drive. The A4 chip is new.
Apple wants you to drop Microsoft Office and any OpenOffice and please use their iWorks stuff, a product virtually no one uses. Will iWorks be able to break the lock on one of Microsoft's major cash cows-- Office? That remains to be seen. One more thing to learn, I guess. And it costs a blistering $9.95 for each app (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote), something that will surely give Steve Ballmer a need for Zantac. Not because Microsoft confirmed the Zune phone today, rather, Jobs is eating his lunch.
The wireless specs are good; 802.11n (fast WiFi) and 3G-- carriers to be determined, but an all-you-can-eat $29.99 deal was bandied about. Additionally, a laughable $14.99 for 250MB/monthly deal was announced. AT&T was thrown a bone-- it's WiFi network was mentioned as free. Starbucks stock will go up.
Very few of these ingredients are new, but all play into Apple's ecosystems and there's no question now that a netbook system from Apple will NOT be forthcoming. Will it save newspapers? No. Will it save bookstores and publishers? No. Must all tablets be now judged by the iPad? For a while, Apple leads the marketplace in business ecosystems surrounding specific hardware device families. Is this an embarrassment to Microsoft? Most certainly. Google is also a few steps behind, but Google has their own plans
The implications are that even if you don't want one of these devices, and you're an IT professional, you'll need to find a way to support this beast, as it'll be on your radar whether you like it or not, just as the iPod and Mac computers have been. Ok, I like the price, $499-$829. As for the rest, I'm not sure it'll replace the paper on my breakfast table or the books on my shelves. It has a chance, though. Economics will tell the story and so far, they're not very compelling. Will yesterday's newspapers be cheaper than today's? Can I lend a book? Will there be used ebook and used emag stores available? Will the problem of copyrights dog distribution? None of that is settled. It's only beginning.
And for at least a couple of months, you'll have to wait to see and the iPad models without 3G connectivity won't ship until summer. Breathe.