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The iPad -- Revolutionary, or All Hype?

Was the iPad worth the wait?

The latest product to grow on Apple's tree debuted Saturday after weeks of buildup.

And "Early Show" contributor and CNET Senior Editor Natali Del Conte says, "The things that does, that it promises to do, it does well." But make no mistake, she adds - the iPad has its drawbacks.

CNET live blog: Apple iPad launch day
CNET Review: Apple iPad

What are some of the important specs of the iPad?

0.5 inch wide
1.5 pounds, which is thinner and lighter than any netbook on the market
Same App Store and operating system as the iPhone and the iPod Touch
9.7-inch LED backlit display
178-degree viewing angle
Up to 10 hours of battery life
Uses your home Wi-Fi. A 3G version that will use AT&T's network will launch in a few weeks
$499 for the 16-gig model
$599 for the 32-gig model
$699 for the 64-gig model

What's the general consensus among reviewers?

Most really like it. It does what it says it is going to do and it does it well. The general consensus, though, is that people who are into technology and expect a lot from their gadgets are disappointed with what it cannot do yet and what it does not have such as a camera, a physical keyboard, phone features, and the ability to run multiple apps at once. People who are not as picky about their technology will generally be happy that it does what they expect it to do in that it lets them surf the Web, email, listen to music, watch video, display photos and slideshows, play games, and read e-books.

What are some of the drawbacks of the iPad?

It doesn't multi-task.
It is a fingerprint magnet. For something so elegant, it sure does look pretty grimy after a few minutes of use
It is heavier than you think it is. Using it as an e-book reader can be difficult if you are planning to hold it like a book for prolonged periods of time
Typing on the keyboard can be hard to get used to. You have to set it down to place your hands on the keyboard, which is awkward and odd. I don't think you'll be composing long e-mails on it.
It will NOT replace your notebook or phone. You won't be able to produce a lot on this. It is meant for you to consume media like music and video. Producing things like video, photo, or written text is not really the best experience.
It is expensive for something you're not sure you need yet. There is always the chance that Apple will lower the price in a few months like they did with the iPhone. There is also a VERY good chance that a camera will be installed in the next installation of the device so if video calling is important to you, you might want to wait.
It is not a high definition experience. High resolution but not HD
You cannot annotate your books from the iTunes store so if you are reading a book you bought through Apple, you can't take notes on the book or mark passages like you can on the Kindle.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the iPad
iPad Preview
Reviewers Love the iPad, But Will You?
We have an iPad and that's no April Fool's
Tablet Computer Competition Heats Up

Where does the iPad shine in reviews?

Battery life is longer than anticipated
The screen is beautiful
The App Store is the best mobile application store around with over 150,000 apps available now and over 1,000 already optimized for the iPad including CNET.com and CBS.com
The 178-degree viewing angle is great for watching movies and videos in a group from different angles
The book reading experience is GREAT but you can't read the books you buy in iTunes on your home computer, which ties you to the iPad, which is kind of annoying

Is this the future of computing or just another gadget?

It is the future of a new kind of gadget. It won't replace anything. It doesn't revolutionize anything. It is just a new thing that I suspect people will add to their repertoire of gadgets.
We have to remember that Apple doesn't usually INVENT new kinds of products, they just do the best job of brining them to consumers. They didn't invent the smartphone but they have done the best job of making a smartphone that people notice, want, and can use easily. They didn't invent the mouse but they made that an everyday product when they launched it. The tablet is NOT a new device. It has been around for years but no one has bought them. This will be a true test to see if they are needed because if Apple can't pull it off, it might just be that nobody can.

Does CNET recommend it and if so, to whom?

Heavy readers will really like this. The reading experience is just so much more elegant that any other e-reader.
Stackers: This is a term for people who like to keep a laptop or phone on their lap while watching TV.
Gamers: Casual games are really fun on this. Not all hard-core gamers will be sold but there are some compelling titles
Students: It will be a great learning tool as textbook companies start to publish interactive books as their own application
Early adopters: People who just have to have the latest and greatest will not be disappointed

Whom does CNET NOT recommend this for?

People who want to replace a netbook, notebook, or phone
People who want it for video chatting or conferencing
People who don't want to spend a lot of money on something that is unproven

Is this really a larger iTouch?

Yes and no. Yes, because it does everything the ipod touch does, but no because It does more then since it has more applications specifically designed for this device. Ipod touch is not a work tool....the iPad will be handy in your career.

Check out other reviews of the iPad:

USA Today: Verdict is in on Apple iPad: It's a winner
The first iPad is a winner. It stacks up as a formidable electronic-reader rival for Amazon's Kindle. It gives portable game machines from Nintendo and Sony a run for their money. At the very least, the iPad will likely drum up mass-market interest in tablet computing in ways that longtime tablet visionary and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates could only dream of.

NY Times: Looking at the iPad from Two Angles
Pogue contends that the techies prefer a conventional laptop, but the non-techies will adore it.

"The bottom line is that the iPad has been designed and built by a bunch of perfectionists. If you like the concept, you'll love the machine."

WSJ: Laptop Killer? Pretty Close
"After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop. It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades."

PC Magazine: Apple iPad (Wi-Fi)
"Aside from Apple enthusiasts, many of us wondered who would drop hundreds of dollars for this not-quite-computer. But having used the iPad for some time, I can tell you that the device just makes sense. When you combine basic-but-essential work tools with iWork, an improved browser, e-mail, iPod, and photo applications, a well-executed e-Book platform with iBooks, and throw in thousands of downloadable apps and games, and package it all in a gorgeous, slim slate with a beautiful 9.7-inch touch screen, you have yourself a winner."

For more on the iPad, click on the video demo below:


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