On Wednesday Apple announced the iPad, and it looks really nice. Their tagline says it’s a "magical and revolutionary" device, which to me seems like a stretch even for Apple -- but everyone at the press event who actually got to hold one and use it has said that you won’t really get it until you hold it. It’s apparently crazy fast which would certainly contribute to the wow factor.
The iPad would make a killer device for anyone who spends a lot of time flying, or on a subway. It’ll be great for reading websites, magazines, newspapers, and ebooks. And it’s perfect for medical professionals, insurance agents, real estate appraisers, etc -- assuming that whatever software those people are already using on laptops and desktops gets ported to the iPad.
One of the most compelling features of the iPad is its price: considering that many people were expecting it to cost near $1000, its $499 price is pretty amazing. And just looking at the thing, how beautiful it is, and everything it does, it’s hard to imagine they’re making much profit on the $499 model. Of course you can spend more to get models with more storage space and/or with 3G connectivity as opposed to just wifi.
The iPhone for me has certainly been magical and revolutionary; it’s hard to imagine living without one now. It’s with me 24/7 and I use it dozens of times per day for email, web browsing, and listening to and watching podcasts -- no to mention checking the weather, making phone calls, playing music, and lots of other things. So as cool as the iPad is, I just don’t see it having anywhere near the same level of impact on my life that the iPhone has had.
My biggest reservation though can be stated in one cursed word: iTunes. I hate iTunes with a burning hatred, and I’m not sure I want to accept into my life another device that forces me to use iTunes. As it is, I can barely stand to deal with it on the ~2 times per month that I sync my iPhone with it. And unfortunately, with Apple, it’s iTunes or the highway. It’s honestly hard for me to understand how a company capable of making such beautiful and amazing devices is also capable of creating and maintaining such a disaster of a product as iTunes is.
Anyway if you want to see the iPad before it goes on sale in about 60 days, you can check out the video -- but only if you’re on a system where iTunes is supported. Apple is not interested in selling stuff to Linux users.
UPDATE: by scraping the web page’s source code and then dissecting the fake movie stubs in the URLs, I was able to find these direct links to the videos, which should play fine on all systems including Linux: small, medium, large. But given that the actual URLs/filenames are datestamped to today, who knows how long the links will continue to work.