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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  • stcredzero - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    The review authors are displaying the case configured incorrectly, in picture after picture. The flap needs to be tucked in! This makes the case much more usable in the vertical, taller orientation as a stand. Also, who would set the case up as a stand and try to type in portrait orientation? That's like complaining your car can't do highway speeds in reverse! That's not what it's for!

    Tuck the flap in, then review the case. It's much better that way!
    Reply
  • TemplarGR - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    I would like to thank Anand for this terrific and just review. Most reviews i have read so far are biased in favour of Apple, but this is just right.

    It is the only review so far that describes the total cost of ownership of this device. This device is a luxury item, an expensive toy. The starting price is a joke. 499 dollars for 16gb disk, no 3G, no camera, lack of apps? When you add the additional costs this device brings, it is way overpriced compared to a netbook or tablet pc. An EePc costs 300 while being more complete and far more powerful. And yes it draws more power, but i believe there are netbooks out there with 10+ battery life. I have to admit it also has a better display than most netbooks though.

    I like some aspects of the iPad. I really like the touch interface for certain uses. I believe Apple has done a terrific job with its UI. The problem is that Apple charges a lot for just a touch UI compared to netbooks.

    Since i am a Linux user and a programmer, i wouldn't buy it anyway. I am against Apple's closed ecosystem practice. But i like Apple's contributions to modern device and UI design.

    The reason i am critical of Apple is that i do not like companies which make a practice to sell on hype and marketing instead of tech. Apple is almost like a cult. There are reviews out there(Ars for example) that say that luck of multitasking is a nice feature and makes their lives easier. This is almost pathetic.

    I was afraid that Anand was under Apple's influence but i am happy i was wrong and he reviewed it for what it is, a luxury item not able to replace current devices. Thank you Anand!
    Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Is what I gleaned from that review. A nice looking screen isn't useful if the rest of the device is pretty much useless.

    There's maybe a single use case, and that's if you want to watch h264 encoded video miles from civilisation. Even then, I'd argue a netbook and a couple of spare batteries would always serve you better.
    Reply
  • nquo - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    thoughts on iPad and its potential:
    http://nquo.posterous.com/ipad-bigger-than-a-big-i...
    Reply
  • Jalek99 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Every local news report I saw today featured iPads. The anchors showing pictures on the device when they have the usual corner of the window or the huge monitors behind them.

    Then Jimmy Fallon showing some app on one...
    The manufactured buzz is far more negative for me than anything the device itself merits.
    Reply
  • Mike1111 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    He was asking for 720p on the IPHONE! This can be done by using a 3rd party file manager that allows you to transfer videos to the iPhone without iTunes and then select them inside the app. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Ahh, you are indeed correct sir. I didn't do the encode for the iPhone, I'm assuming we just re-encoded again. ;)

    -Brian
    Reply
  • SunLord - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Did you know an apple store employee can pick a $499 ipad up for $350 which leads me to think per the norm for apple we be getting ripped off. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    Well, no shit, it's an extremely low cost computer (with the possible exception of the screen) priced with a high price point. Reply
  • manicfreak - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    From some of the articles out there, the gross profit for the ipad can be anywhere from 50-60%. I'm not a fan of Apple's product, but I do admire their ability to get almost anyone from the media and the bloggers to hype up their underperformed, overpriced product. Reply

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