Apple’s iPad is not a must-have device, say critics
SAN FRANCISCO: Tech experts and gadget fans dampened the early hype this week over Apple’s new iPad, saying the touchscreen computer tablet is not the must-have device the company claims it is.
Hours after Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled its latest creation, computer and technology bloggers were divided on whether it would transform the way we spend our leisure time.
Users eager to judge for themselves will have to wait two months before the iPad is shipped worldwide at an entry-level price of $499 (R3 792).
Jobs showed off various features which include browsing the web, checking e-mail, working with spreadsheets and charts, playing videogames, listening to music or watching videos.
While some critics predicted it would become the best-selling electronics device of 2010, others complained it has no camera or USB, it cannot multi-task, cannot be used as a phone and does not support Flash.
“The iPad isn’t going to be a phenomenon with either netbook users or power users,” tech blog Mashable wrote. “The iPad isn’t the transformational device so many Apple enthusiasts were hoping for. It won’t turn all the content industries upside down, it won’t be your primary computing device and it’s not even a bigger, better iPhone.”
Apple said the basic iPad would be available worldwide in March and the 3G version in April in the United States and selected countries from $629.
It has a 24.6cm colour screen resembling an iPhone, is 1.27cm thick, weighs 0.7kg and has flash memory of 16, 32, or 64 gigabytes.
Screen images flip between portrait and landscape modes depending on how an iPad is held.
Mobile game applications for iPhone also work on the iPad, and developers are adapting software to take advantage of the extra screen “real estate”.
It has a picture frame mode for presenting slide shows of stored photos and Google Maps coupled with geo-location software.
Frost & Sullivan analyst Todd Day said it is “more than a smartphone, less than a notebook, but just the right personal device for every day users”.
Claudine Beaumont, technology writer for Britain’s Daily Telegraph, hailed its sleekness, reading software and virtual keyboard. “It won’t replace your laptop, but I think it may have sounded the death knell for notebook computers,” she wrote.
But Michael Hiltzik, a technology columnist for the Los Angeles Times, said it was like an iPod that was too big for your pocket but too small to contain your entire music collection. – Sapa-AFP