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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 31, 2010 at 6:17 PM

First iPad reviews appear, mostly thumbs up

As expected, Apple gave the New York Times’ David Pogue , USA Today’s Ed Baig and the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg an early crack at the iPad for reviews that just appeared.

The device, of course, goes on sale Saturday starting at $499. The chosen few apparently loved it, but had a few quibbles.

Both Mossberg and Pogue found the iPad battery life better than Apple’s promised 10 hours, with Pogue getting 12 hours of video playback and Mossberg more than 11.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for IMG00068-20100127-1017.JPG

Mossberg agrees with Steve Jobs, that it’s a revolutionary device:

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.

With an iPad on hand, Mossberg found himself using his laptops less and less.

My verdict is that, while it has compromises and drawbacks, the iPad can indeed replace a laptop for most data communication, content consumption and even limited content creation, a lot of the time. But it all depends on how you use your computer.

If you’re mainly a Web surfer, note-taker, social-networker and emailer, and a consumer of photos, videos, books, periodicals and music–this could be for you. If you need to create or edit giant spreadsheets or long documents, or you have elaborate systems for organizing email, or need to perform video chats, the iPad isn’t going to cut it as your go-to device.

Pogue split his review in two, praising it as a wonderful new gadget for non-techies, while ripping its shortcomings from the geeky perspective.

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 goof-proof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they’re absolutely right.

From the geek perspective, Pogue said Apple’s selection of digital books for the iPad is meager and its on-screen keyboard is “horrible” when the device is upright and “just barely usable” when it’s turned 90 degrees.

There’s no multitasking, either. It’s one app at a time, just like on the iPhone. Plus no U.S.B. jacks and no camera. Bye-bye, Skype video chats. You know Apple is just leaving stuff out for next year’s model.

The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money — with a full keyboard, DVD drive, U.S.B. jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works. Besides: If you’ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, who’s going to carry around a third machine?

Baig called the iPad “a winner” that is “rewriting the rulebook for mainstream computing”:

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.

Here’s the quickie iPad review I wrote after trying it at the January launch event.

Here’s USA Today’s video that ran with Baig’s review:

[do action=”brightcove-video” videoid=”74729054001″][/do]

Comments | Topics: Apple, iPad, review

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