Unless you've been hiding under a rock your probably know by know that the Apple iPad has been officially announced. This announcement comes after about 10 years of rumours and months of speculation about what the iPad would be and do.
Even the Mainstream media has managed to become captivated by the iPad. On CTV (a major network up here in Canada), the noon news usually runs a call in segment (Talk Back Toronto) where they ask a question of the TV audience. Today's question for Talk Back Toronto was, "Will you buy the new Apple Tablet device? " Now this question came about an hour before the actually Apple announcement, but yet they were asking viewers on a mainstream news broadcast what they thought about this device. Its just crazy to think that your mom or grand parents know about the iPad before it was even announced.
But is the iPad for you? Is it a device that you should buy? The truth is, since no one has really had a lot of time with the device, I would have to say that it might be a bit uncertain whether or not you should be running out to grab an iPad. Also, I think we need to consider how people will be using the iPad.
The iPad seems to be positioned to be a better Net Book. To play your media and read your books on; to play games; and to be a work machine. For each of these different uses I think we need to be asking questions. If I use the device to read books on, will I suffer from eye strain? If I use the device for work, will I be as effective on this device without a physical keyboard? If the requirement is to get the keyboard accessory for me to be able to be as effective on the iPad as I would be on a laptop to do my work, I think that this quickly becomes a very different device. Depending on the weight and price of the keyboard some business professionals may find themselves trying to justify the purchase of the iPad. Also, the lack of multi-tasking may make the iPad a non starter for people who like to multi-task. (Which is most people by the way.)
If your looking to the iPad to replace your Kindle for reading, you may want to hold on it. With a LED backlit screen I have to believe that people will be complaining about eye strain after hours of use. Unless Apple has some how solved the problem with eye strain from LED screens. Students wanting to use this device for reading there text books and doing their homework may run into similar problems. For Apples sake I hope eye strain won't be a huge issue with this device.
For gaming and watching or listening to your media, this could be a very compelling device. Many people since the release of the iPhone and iTouch have been craving a device that is slightly larger, to view there media on. The iPad is the device for you if that was what you've been waiting for. The only problem is the lack of support for flash, which by the way, is becoming less of a problem. With the increasing use of HTML 5, many sites are now starting to forgo Flash when doing video or animation. Not that HTML 5 will replace Flash over night.
So the iPad is kind of a mixed bag right now. As we get closer we should have a better picture of just what this device is good for and what it is not. Until then I will remain sceptical and continue to ask questions of this device. So what are your thoughts on the iPad? Are you buying one?