The reviews from Apple's iPad are starting to come in from journalists fortunate enough to have been given units to trial, and willing to follow Apple's draconian rules (Thou must cover all windows in a room before using the iPad--seriously), and they're mostly glowing. In fact, even when a review started off with critical comments, they tend to end on a high note.
Here's a digested roundup of opinions and links to the stories so you can read yourself into a state of iPad Bliss.
- From Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal:
Sleek, light and beautiful, Mossberg said the iPad has "the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop." He says the iPad's larger screen is a pleasure to use and has actually resulted in his using various laptops less often. "While it has compromises and drawbacks, the iPad can indeed replace a laptop for most data communication, content consumption and even limited content creation, a lot of the time," he said. The iPad's keyboard was easy to use, its battery life exceeded 10 hours, even under heavy use, and it was "wicked fast." Overall, "the iPad is an advance in making more-sophisticated computing possible via a simple touch interface on a slender, light device. Only time will tell if it's a real challenger to the laptop and netbook."
- From David Pogue at the New York Times:
Pogue offered a "techie" assessment of the iPad as well as a "Review from Everyone Else," and suffice it to say that his techie conclusion was less than glowing. Among the criticisms, he says it's a "gigantic iPod touch," is limited by its WiFi-only configuration in the introductory model, when it's turned off "every fingerprint is grossly apparent," and it's too heavy to be a comfortable ereader, weighing more than twice as much as a Kindle. It also, he says, has a puny library of "only" 60,000 title at launch and can't be read in direct sunlight. Pogue, unlike Mossberg, found typing to be a "horrible experience." It is fast, can't play Flash video, and won't multitask. "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?" he asks.
From a non-techie viewpoint, Pogue found the large screen made using it pleasant, enjoyed added ereader functions like being able to tap on a word for a definition, or to go to Wikipedia or Google for additional information. Pogue says the iPad's killer app is its access to 150,000 iPhone apps that run on the tablet and the more than 1,000 iPad-specific apps that will be available Saturday through a special section of the App Store. He found movies played for more than 12 hours. Overall? "The iPad is so fast and light, the multitouch screen so bright and responsive, the software so easy to navigate, that it really does qualify as a new category of gadget. Some have suggested that it might make a good goof-proof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they're absolutely right," Pogue said.
- From Edward C. Baig at USA Today (with a video unboxing as well from Jefferson Graham):
"The first iPad is a winner. It stacks up as a formidable electronic-reader rival for Amazon's Kindle," said Baig. "It gives portable game machines from Nintendo and Sony a run for their money. At the very least, the iPad will likely drum up mass-market interest in tablet computing in ways that longtime tablet visionary and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates could only dream of." Baig said there's room for improvement, most notably lack of multitasking, no camera, no Flash and, oddly, that it's too big to put into your pocket. On the plus side of the equation, its game play is great, has a great array of apps, and is a gem for people who's focus is on "consuming content." He gives kudos to its handling of photos especially. Overall, Baig said Apple has "pretty much nailed it with this first iPad."
- From Tim Gideon at PCMag:
"Having used the iPad for some time, I can tell you that the device just makes sense," said Gideon. "When you combine basic-but-essential work tools with iWork, an improved browser, e-mail, iPod, and photo applications, a well-executed e-Book platform with iBooks, and throw in thousands of downloadable apps and games, and package it all in a gorgeous, slim slate with a beautiful 9.7-inch touch screen, you have yourself a winner."
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