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iPad tablet is an iDisappointment to some Apple fans

(Photo: AP)

Call it the iHuh?

After months of breathless anticipation, Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ unveiling of the new Apple tablet left even the Mac faithful puzzled: By both the name iPad, which immediately spawned a thousand jokes, and by what many called lackluster features.

“Magical and revolutionary” is how Jobs described it, but the sleek device had a lukewarm reception.

“The overwhelming sentiment is a severe underwhelming,” said Richard Kriheli, 35, of Upper West Side. The writer Wednesday dismissed it as “a Kindle with color.”

The gadget — 1.5 pounds with a 9.7-inch touch screen — runs iPhone apps, plays music and movies and surfs the Internet. A version will be ready for shipment in late March, and Ross Rubin, of The NPD Group marketing research firm, Wednesday argued its lower-than-expected $499 starting price could convince hesitant techies.

The iPad’s iBooks feature will challenge rival Amazon’s e-book business, and embattled publishers are hoping the device will throw them a digital lifeline. Jobs promoted it as “so much more intimate than a laptop and so much more capable than a smart phone.”

Not so much, said Peter Wu, 22, of Union Square. “I have a Mac, and I have an iPhone. I don’t see where this will fit in,” the engineer reasoned. Wu called the device “overhyped” and slammed the lack of flash and inability to run more than one app at a time.

It also doesn’t have telephone or camera capabilities. Tech blog Gizmodo on Wednesday posted a list of “8 Things That Suck About the iPad” until the title “No Thanks.”

Still others seized on Apple’s choice of the name iPad as a feminine hygiene reference, hitting Twitter to denounce it as “iTampon” and a “bloody disaster.”

“Apple is hoping that in the end they’ll be able to over-brand whatever meaning [pad] has right now,” said branding expert Phil Davis, of Tungsten Branding.

If any company has the ability to overcome such jokes, it’s multi-billion-dollar media giant Apple, said Davis and others.

“It’ll certainly do well. People tend to buy anything these guys put out,” said Kriheli, the writer. “We don’t really know what it’s like until we play with it.”

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