You've got to hand it to Steve Jobs. If there's one person on the planet who knows how to generate buzz over new technology it's the man in charge over at Cupertino. Apple's announcement of the iPad was probably the single most talked about piece of tech news during the month of January. Tablet PC enthusiasts have been asking for an Apple tablet for years and Steve Jobs finally delivered one ... more or less.
As we covered the launch of the iPad last week we couldn't help but notice some potential problems. First, the iPad isn't a tablet MacBook like many people hoped. The iPad runs a modified version of the iPhone OS and is designed to fill the gap between a MacBook and an iPhone. Think of the iPad as Apple's netbook: a mobile internet companion that provides more functionality than a smartphone but less computing power than a full notebook PC.
That being the case, the obvious question is ... will consumers buy it?
As of this morning a total of 2,116 readers responded to our survey about the Apple iPad ... and it looks like opinions are pretty evenly split. About 25 percent of respondents think the iPad will be a flop, 25 percent say it will easily attract a following, one third of our readers say it's "nothing to write home about" while just over 15 percent think the iPad is "a sure hit."
One thing is certain: The announcement of the iPad last week left a lot of consumers wanting to know more. Is it meant to be an ebook reader? Is it a portable web browser? Is it just a larger iPod Touch? Is it a mobile digital photo frame? Is it a fully functional slate tablet? The answer is simple: Yes. At least that is what Apple wants you to think. The marketing blitz over Apple's new "media tablet" seems to be working as the iPad even made a surprise appearance at the Grammy awards thanks to Steven Colbert.
However, the buzz surrounding the iPad isn't entirely positive if the discussion forums here at NotebookReview.com are any indication. Most of our forum members are concerned about the limited hardware and software on the iPad. Forum member MGS2392 summarized many complaints by saying: "The hardware isn't too bad (just about netbook level), but the software is what holds it back. I really don't see the need to run mobile apps on a bigger screen."
Our audience seems pretty divided over the price of the iPad as well. Some people think the $499 starting price is reasonable for what you get while many others think $399 netbooks offer much more value for the money. Forum user Skyshade had this to say about the cost of the iPad: "All I can say is: Thanks, Apple. Somehow you made Sony VAIO X's pricing sound reasonable."
At the end of the day the jury is still out on Apple's latest mobile device. The iPad offers consumers a great deal in terms of a mobile entertainment device, but we'll have to see what software becomes available for the iPad before we know if this tablet offers any additional productivity compared to an iPhone.
Let us know what you think. Head over to our discussion forum and make sure your voice is heard.
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