The iPad is about to land. Brace yourself. The media and geek hype of Apple's much ballyhooed tablet computer has created a storm that's pretty much drowned out coverage of every other technology story since January.
Jerusalem University successfully removed stem cells from an embryo without damaging it? Who cares, the iPad is coming!
Despite some initial knocks on the iPad -- no Flash, just an iPhone on steroids, no camera, no multi-tasking, no phone, no Verizon, no upgraded OS -- it has still managed to sell 250,000 units before its official release date Saturday.
So what do the fortunate few who Apple sent early iPads to have to say? Here are some reviews from around the Internet.
The New York Times
"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 goofproof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they’re absolutely right."
"Based on my initial handling of the pre-shipping iPad, I was a tad underwhelmed: The reality is that the iPad looked and behaved like an iPhone (or iPod Touch) on steroids -- and that's not always a good thing given the potential for the iPad to make a run for replacing my netbook -- or even my PC -- for certain activities. I'm intrigued -- but need to see the iPad-specific apps in use, and try the shipping version to get more of a feel of just how the iPad complements the existing pantheon of mobile computers. And how well it works together with the iPhone, in terms of sharing both data and apps."
The real test of whether the iPad will succeed or fail hinges on the product's capability to bridge the gap between your smart phone and home computer. In fact, for the iPad to get any traction, it needs to first prove that there is, in fact, a gap between your mobile phone and home computer. For savvy smartphone users already juggling multiple computers, it's tough to justify an extra computer in your life, no matter the shape, size, or price.
Really, it's the casual computer user who will see the biggest benefit from the iPad. The kind of person who doesn't own an iPhone or a laptop and would be happy to browse the New York Times stories over morning coffee, if it didn't mean sitting at a computer desk.
Is the iPad a perfect product? No. And the omissions will give the anti-Apple crowd plenty of ammo. Why do I need this extra device that's not a full-fledged laptop? Where's the camera? What about Flash? Um, how about multitasking? These are all valid complaints, but one thing I can say about most Apple products, and certainly the iPad: There may be things it doesn't do, but what it does do, it does remarkably well. Aside from the aforementioned limitations, there isn't a lot else to gripe about. And to my great surprise, you can actually get real work done with the iPad.