posted by Thom Holwerda on Thu 1st Apr 2010 11:55 UTC
IconWith the release day of the iPad fast approaching, it's time for the usual lucky few to shine their lights on Apple's new device. As usual, these first-hand reviews by blogging heavyweights are incredibly positive (with a few notable exceptions), and if they are correct in their predictions, then the iPad will change everything in computing.

Walt Mossberg from The Wall Street Journal is as always one of the first to review new Apple devices (or any other major company's stuff), and he's very, very positive about the iPad. "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," Mossberg writes, "It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades."

USA Today's Edward C. Baig also had advance access to an iPAd review unit, and like Mossberg, is equally positive. "The first iPad is a winner," Baig proclaims, "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."

David Pogue is the one who really seems to get it. He basically wrote two reviews - one for techies, and one for everyone else; both of them start with "The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch", but the rest is completely different.

In his review for techies, he finds the iBook e-book application unpleasant considering the screen is unreadable in sunlight, while also finding the iPad too heavy for regular reading. He also finds the keyboard unusable, and there's no Flash, leaving lots of holes while browsing the web. "The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money - with a full keyboard, DVD drive, USB jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works," Pogue argues, "Besides: If you've already got a laptop and a smartphone, who's going to carry around a third machine?"

His review for everyone else is much more positive. In this review, the iBook application gets accolades for how it looks and behaves, and iPad-specific applications are lauded for their vividness (like the Marvell comic reader or newspaper applications). "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," Pogue writes, "Some have suggested that it might make a good goof-proof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they're absolutely right."

There are more reviews out there, but I think you get the gist. The device is getting a very positive reception, it's just that you really need to fit into the target category: you consume, you do not create.

One consistent positive note between the reviews is the battery life. Apple has joined the fray of tricking consumers with false advertising regarding battery life; Apple claims the iPad can deliver 10 hours of video, but every test shows that it is actually much longer than that - 11, 12 hours. Whatever you're going to think of the iPad, that is good news.

The iPad is sure looking like a very good device, and I'm sure it will be a major success. I do get weary over those "it will change computing forever!"-claims, since these claims are as old as computing itself, and have come and gone in many forms. Remember thin clients?

Heck, even Microsoft Bob's type of interface was said to revolutionise computing because it was so easy to use. Eh.

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