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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  • dagamer34 - Friday, April 09, 2010 - link

    Anyone who looks at the raw costs of materials and bases decisions of a product being "overpriced" has never taken Business 101.

    I'll limit myself to 4 things which that "50-60%" pays for:
    1) Running Apple stores and employees
    2) Running Apple itself in Cupertino (and worldwide) - employees, board, executives, etc.
    3) Apple product support for the first year (phone support, in-person support, etc.)
    4) Warranties (i.e. - your iPad breaks in the first year and you complain they should fix it on their dime)

    NEVER assume a company gets a "huge" profit when only looking at BOM. That's just idiotic. And it's almost impossible to know how much the points I listed above factor into a product's cost in any great detail without making huge assumptions or pure guesswork.
    Reply
  • manicfreak - Friday, April 09, 2010 - link

    Doesn't change the fact the profit gained from the iPad is higher than the iPod from the last few years.

    Overpriced.
    Reply
  • GTaudiophile - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    That is indeed one of the best episodes of TOP GEAR ever.

    And then at the end, they all drive home to Sigur Ros playing in the background.
    Reply
  • semo - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    "There's also an optional VGA output, but I won't point out what issues I have with that."

    Why?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    I was poking fun at it, I thought it was obvious what my issues with a VGA dongle would be. Especially given that Apple's own products haven't supported VGA in years, and the input is definitely not common on modern HDTVs.

    It looks like the iPad is missing a TMDS as we don't get any options for digital out (HDMI, DVI, DP). I'll clarify in the article :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • PhilipHa - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    You may be interested in

    http://www.brightsideofnews.com/news/2010/4/7/the-...

    contains some interesting performance comparisons between x86 and ARM (but not IPAD)
    Reply
  • pervisanathema - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    You would be much wiser to wait for the inevitable widescreen version with a camera and faster CPU. I guarantee Apple has one in the works and they are simply waiting to screw the early adopters. The 4:3 aspect ratio was obviously picked solely so they would have a compelling reason to force people to buy the next revision. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Friday, April 09, 2010 - link

    OR 4:3 works better with books and it's the same ratio as the iPhone? Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Thursday, April 08, 2010 - link

    You pick a heck of a time to start complaining about apple's app pricing. Of course they are going to charge an arm and a leg for apps. That's what apple does. That's ALL apple does. This device, all told, requires an over $1500 investment for 2 years.

    iPad $500
    Bag $30
    10 Apps $120
    2 years of service $720
    Other accessories $50
    Taxes ~$100

    Total >$1500

    It is a ripoff of epic proportions. It's no faster than a penium III notebook I can buy on ebay for $68. This is outrageous. Are you out of your flippin mind? The real economy is in the middle of a depression. Real private GDP is down close to 20%. By and large, the only people who are going to be able to afford this overpriced garbage are people sucking off the government teat. (Like union trash collectors and station agents who make 6 figure salaries.) Nobody who actually works for a living in the private sector is going to spend $1500 on something like this, not if they wish to remain solvent anyway.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, April 09, 2010 - link

    Umm, your numbers are slightly off. There is no service fee for the WiFi-only $500 iPad. The 3G version starts at $630.

    Besides that though, I know plenty of people who have the disposable income to buy a toy like this of they wished. Sure it is overpriced, but just as there are consumers who pay $500 and up for video cards ther are some who pay $600-700 for expensive toys like this. It is arguably a better use of money than that $800 netbook Sony came out with last year.
    Reply

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