Steve Jobs introduces the Apple iPad to the world
So, you may have noticed that a little thing called an 'Apple iPad' launched yesterday to minimal fanfare and restrained media coverage.
Ok, who are we kidding. The web went wild and tech-heads worldwide squeezed into black turtleneck sweaters and salivated in front of their MacBooks in frenzied anticipation. Apple chief Steve Jobs duly appeared and unveiled the iPad with all of the grandeur of Moses returning from the mount with the original tablet... and then everyone kind of shrugged/sighed/switched over to watch Man United whomp Man City in the final minute of injury time.
All added up then, across the worlds of technology and football last night, there were few surprises.
The iPad is a great gadget, undoubtedly. But is it the Mac-Messiah the world was hoping for? Possibly not.
Already technology blog Gizmodo is fingering the '8 Things That Suck About The iPad' (that'll be the name, the size, the design, no camera, no HDMI out, no multitasking, no Flash, too many adapters needed - even just for a USB connection, the touch keyboard and the lack of widescreen, for those who can't be arsed to click. And yes, that is more than 8). Ouch.
The Guardian ploughed into the device with its own list of 'stuff that's missing from the iPad'. See above paragraph. Oh, and add on no slot for an SD card (the thing you generally use to store photos on in a camera).
So far then, the iPad would appear to be scoring a B+. Or perhaps an A-. Apple's 'shock and awe' strategy of ultra-secrecy followed by a dazzling unveiling may have backfired slightly this time. People have come to expect way too much from Apple.
TechCrunch summed up the mood when their writer pondered, "The thing is beautiful and fast. Really fast. If you’ll excuse my hyperbole, it felt like I was holding the future. But is it a must-have? That’s a complicated question."
This then, is why you could get excited about the iPad.
1. The price. At 'from $499' it's way cheaper than anyone expected. Though yes, it's hardly a 'Kindle-killer' whilst Amazon's device still costs around half as much...
2. Be honest, it does look fun and this Apple iPad video run-through (admittedly Apple's own promo) does prove that it's packed with impressive power and a wealth of sleek features. Watch the video now, seriously.
3. It's a gaming gadget, book-reader, music and movies player, email tool, web-browsing computer, photo-viewer, TV and 'do just about anything at a touch' (thanks to 140,000 Apps) box of treats all rolled into one. And way cheaper than a MacBook.
Here's the guys at TechCrunch havng a play with one:
But the main reason why it could be exciting is this: think of it as the first mobile phone - far from perfect, but a glimpse of the immense possibilities and future to come. Phones were the size of bricks. They were primitive, expensive and flawed. But look at what they became...
The Apple iPad builds on the magic of the iPhone and heralds a new age of touch-screen computing. It seems that it's not quite there yet, but suggests a radically different computing experience in a few years' time.
Keep your wallet in your pocket until then.