Last Updated Jan 29, 2010 9:07 AM EST
Well, it's official: The Apple tablet is here, and it's called the iPad. Obviously any device with this much buildup and so many expectations can't be all things to all people. But is the iPad enough things to enough people?
Not around these parts. For anyone expecting to be blown away by revolutionary new technology, the iPad emerged as a colossal disappointment. Here are my picks for five ways Apple dropped the ball:
- No killer app Tell me again why I need one of these things. I mean, sure, it's cool and all, and the gadget geek inside me wouldn't mind having one. But does it fill a single need I have? Can it take the place of my iPhone or my laptop/netbook? No, no, and no.
- Too expensive I fully expected the iPad to have a shocking sticker, and sure enough, it tops out at $829 for the 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G model. Granted, you can get the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version for $499, which seems more reasonable, but without the aforementioned killer app, I don't see the iPad flying off the shelves. And if you do want 3G, be prepared for...
- More monthly fees I guess it was crazy to hope for some kind of Kindle-like scenario where the price of 3G wireless would be built into the iPad. Instead, AT&T's hitting you up for $14.99 or $29.99 per month for 250MB or unlimited data, respectively. I don't know about you, but the idea of yet another monthly fee makes me ill.
- It has few business applications The newly announced iWork apps suggest the iPad could pull laptop duty, but the key word here is "lap": You'd have to hunch over yours (or a desk, I suppose) to do any kind of data entry. That sounds mighty uncomfortable, as does the prospect of any meaningful amount of typing on an onscreen keyboard. Sure, you could spring for Apple's keyboard dock, but at that point... just use a laptop! At least you can connect an iPad to a projector -- just like a real computer.
- It's not magic The iPhone changed the world. I think many of us expected, or at least hoped, the iPad would do likewise. And, hey, maybe it will. Maybe in the future we'll all be reading books and newspapers on iPads and similar devices. But the iPad itself brings almost no innovation to the technology table. Bottom line: It's a toy, an oversized iPod Touch that borrows a bit from the Mac OS.