Confidence is built upon credibility, something Apple really earned thanks to the first iPod. Apple gained the mainstream credibility to introduce a product, say it's going to be the best thing ever, and have customers give it the benefit of the doubt.

Credibility is a finite good however. Promise the world and deliver beans instead too many times and you'll find yourself back to square one. Luckily for Apple, that hasn't happened yet.

The iPod gave Apple credibility, but Mac OS X, Mac hardware and eventually the iPhone all made deposits in that bank. That's not to say that Apple devices are flawless, but the company has won the confidence of a huge part of the market.

The road to the iPad announcement was riddled with rumors and unsubstantiated claims of what the Apple tablet would do. It was to be the replacement for everything from cable TV to netbooks. Hype is a difficult thing to control, but in the case of the iPad, the market's expectations were beyond unrealistic.

The hopeful child in all of us wanted to believe. We wanted to believe that Apple would introduce something truly revolutionary, something that would let us do anything we ever wanted to do. We just didn't know what that was, but we believed that there was a slight chance Apple might make it happen.

What followed on January 27, 2010, the day of the iPad announcement, was a collection of excitement, disappointment and confusion.

I do have to place some (a lot?) of the blame on Apple. By saying nothing, confirming nothing (short of threatening law suits) Apple let the hype get carried away. And I'm not totally convinced that Apple itself wasn't behind some of the leaks in order to generate free marketing for this device. The worst? Jobs calling the iPad magical. If the device was shipping today with no ergonomics issues, no slowdowns, no crashes and with a full list of heavy hitter apps (real ones, not just ones that showed us what the iPad could do in the future), then I'd call it magical. You can't call something magical if it just promises magic at some point in the future. Well, you can, but then you'll anger a lot of people who oppose to such liberal use of language.

You have to hand it to Apple PR though. Through careful planning and seeding of review units, it managed to end up in all of the right hands a few days prior to its launch.

It had been on every single late night talk show in the span of a couple days. It even made it to the grammys earlier this year. Folks looking to catch a break would kill for the sort of free publicity apples iPad has received. It has celebrity status without even adopting any orphans.

And like a celebrity, the iPad is very polarizing.

The iPad, even moreso than the iPhone, is not the end all, be all universal device for everyone. In fact, unlike the iPhone, it doesn't replace any existing device in your life. It's an addition. There are things it does beautifully, things it does ok, and things it just plain can’t do. Today, I'll try to take you through all of that as best I can.

It's a Tablet Running a Touch OS
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  • softdrinkviking - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    it occurs to me that i would want a way to protect the screen from getting scratched, and that would mean a
    cover or case that would take the place of the clamshell design of a netbook/notebook.
    why would i want to pay a price premium for a device with slower performance which only achieves acceptable functionality with the addition of expensive peripherals?
    even after all the peripherals, i still lose the ability to effortlessly prop-up a netbook on my lap and type an email, or set a netbook up on a table in a coffee shop.
    nothing about the tablet form factor is convenient for on-the-go usage for me.

    the only situation where i can possibly imagine this being a preferable form factor is for wall mount usage or some other kind of "always left out in the open" type of use, like a universal remote control, or a mini home television viewer in the kitchen.
    but it seems too expensive for those uses to me.
    there must be a better alternative.
    Reply
  • MacTheSpoon - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the great review. I was shocked you'd typed 40% of it with the iPad.

    Would you mind doing a comparison between the iPad keyboard and a physical keyboard? Since there is no utility to measure WPM for the iPad, maybe you could time how long it takes to type the same passage on both--something with some semicolons, quotation marks, and/or em dashes would be ideal, as I'm curious how the virtual keyboard stands up when the user must switch between layouts.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    You know, this was something I was dying to address a few times. I'm hoping that the iTextspeed application developers update their code soon to be iPad compatible, because that's something I want to test for sure.

    I've gotten to the point where I can touch type in landscape pretty easy, but I can also type pretty fast on the iPhone (around 80 WPM using their application). If and when it's updated, we might do something and include the update.

    If it helps any, this was also composed pretty quickly from an iPad. ;)

    Cheers,
    Brian Klug
    Reply
  • solipsism - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    1) How did you get a 720p video on the iPhone for the video test when the allowable maximum "up to 1.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second" video?

    2) From my testing, the iPad uses about 20MB more than the 3GS on startup. Most, if not all, of this is for the GPU. I've also noticed that native apps are also using more RAM. While the 3GS has enough to support standard multitasking the iPad does not. Even switching pages in Safari on the iPad would have to be reloaded while the 3GS does not. This will even more of an issue with the 3G version of the iPad. This gives me doubts about multitasking unles iPhone OS v4.0 is much more efficient (making 3.2.2 a stand in, which looks to be the case) and Apple has a more intuitive quasi-multitasking concept to unveil today.
    Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    I can't speak about the RAM usage - are you using iStat or similar?

    However 720P H.264 video is certainly supported, which is what we used. I tested all the different profiles in handbrake, all of them work if you keep the video at or under 1280x720:

    "H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format"

    That's straight from http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/

    I think you're getting confused with the MPEG4 limitation which is indeed 640x480. ;)

    -Brian Klug
    Reply
  • Ph00 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    sorry to be ot but is that a black mouth cur dog? Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    I'll wait for iPad v2 with reliably working wifi, no overheating, working PDF export, at least a backside camera for snapshots and maybe short flicks and perhaps multitasking. Ill stop here because any more missing features would seem greedy - apple needs a reason to sell you the 2012 iPad...

    As for atom based ipad - are you nuts? Nobody wants that garbage. Gimme a dual core cortex A9 instead.
    Reply
  • Mike1111 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    You mean the 2011 iPad, right? Because there's no way Apple isn't gonna do a yearly refresh cycle like they do with all their iPhone OS based products. Reply
  • Mike1111 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    My mistake. You meant even iPad v2 in 2011 won't be feature complete because Apple needs some features for the 2012 iPad v3.

    Hm, how do I delete a post?
    Reply
  • Lemonjellow - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    "Sure, but so could a TV that made me pancakes. Neither is ready yet or guaranteed."

    Can you confirm or deny that someone is working on said TV project? :- D
    Reply

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