Apple head man Steve Jobs finally announced the news that everyone thought was coming: his company will release an iPad tablet computer in 60 days.
The new machine will run $499 to $829, depending on storage size and wireless connectivity and I think, in time, it will prove to be a huge hit. I think if I'd spent big money on a Kindle, which I almost did before Christmas, I'd be very upset.
But will this thing sell? I was shocked at the price point after hearing for weeks that this device would sit somewhere between $799 and $999. Still, until the public gets its hands on the thing -- and us journalists get to do some in-field testing -- we'll just not know what the audience will be.
But given the success of iPod and iPhone, I think this will be a similar hit. The iPad appears to do a lot of things well and will be more than enough computer for most people. I think the $499 model with 16 gigs of storage and no 3G built-in, will be the model most people go after. I'm just not sure how much people are going to take this out of the home daily.
It'll be great for people who travel alot. You'll have your "world" in your briefcase, your hotel, your spa.
From what I can see, this is a better e-reading experience than the Amazon device, and it does so much more. The New York Times app demoed on the unit bodes well for reading magazines and newspapers in their native formats on the screen.
Being able to sit on the couch or the patio and read a true digital magazine or paper will help separate this from even a good laptop computer or netbook.
And the games looked very pretty during the demonstration. I can see kids choosing something like this over a PlayStation 3, because of the portability factor throughout the house. Parents might like that as well, because it's a unit they would use, too.
Pictures and video showed the unit to be beautiful and viewing angles clear, especially from reports from those who've seen it. The unit has a 9.7 screen with a 3/4 inch bezel around it. It's not quite as big as a sheet of notebook paper, but it's a great device to take on an airplane or a trip. Apple says it has up to 10 hours of battery life.
This is the highly portable netbook that is slick, does a lot of things (probably) well, and to be honest, might be able to replace most people's desktop or laptop. You can run Apple's iWork suite of applications on it.
A stand and keyboard accessory will allow you to "dock" your iPad to create a true home workstation. One of big questions, typing on the machine, appears to be simple with a touchscreen keyboard about the same size as you'd encounter on an notebook.
A few nitpicks:
-- It's missing a camera on the front and back for portable video conferencing.
-- No multi-tasking.
-- 3G wireless from only AT&T (again). A lot of people hoped that Verizon would be a part of this thing. The good news is that the $14.99 and $29.99 wireless price points ($14.99 for 250 MB/month and $29.99 unlimited) are pre-pay. I thought AT&T might allow current iPhone users to tether their iPhones to iPad to share the $30 per month they already pay for data.
-- No TV subscriptions. The screen would've been great to match with a subscription service for network programming (which may be coming). This will only show movies downloaded from the iTunes store.
-- You know better versions are coming and the price will drift southward. iPad 2011 will probably add things like the camera that people wanted the first go round.
-- I almost wish a 3G contract was available so AT&T could subsidize the cost of the unit. Given that a $599 iPhone can go for $99 with a contract, the iPad could've been really affordable with a contract, though that contract price would've been higher than the current pricing.