Apropos to the big Easter Weekend, Apple is releasing the iPad to the U.S. market. David Pogue from the NYTimes has done two reviews in one. Rather than anger his technophile readers or alienate his average readers he gave each audience his own review of a real hands-on iPad. Where’s Walt Mossberg on this topic? (Walt likes it) Pogue more or less says lack of a physical keyboard is a showstopper for many. Instead, users who need a keyboard need to get a laptop of some sort. Otherwise for what it accomplishes through finger gestures and software design the iPad is a pretty incredible end user experience. Whether or not your personality, demeanor is compatible with the iPad is up for debate. But try before you buy, hand-on will tell you much more than doing a web order and hoping for the best. And given the price, it’s a wise choice. Walt Mossberg too feels you had better actually try to use it before you buy. It is in his own words, not like any other computer but in a different class all its own. So don’t trust other people to tell you whether or not it will work for you.
One thing David Pogue is also very enthused by is the data plan seems less onerous than the first and second generation iPhone contracts with AT&T. The dam is about to burst on mandatory data plans, and in the iPad universe you can subscribe and lapse, re-subscribe lapse again depending on your needs. So don’t pay for a long term contract if you don’t need it. That addresses a long-standing problem I have had with the iPhone as it is currently marketed by Apple and AT&T. Battery life is another big upshot. The review models that Mossberg and Pogue used had ‘longer’, read that again LONGER run times than stated by Apple. Both guys tried doing real heavy network and video playback on the devices and went over the 10hr. battery life claimed by Apple. Score a big win for the iPad in that category.
Lastly Pogue hinted at maps looking and feeling like real maps on the bigger display. Mossberg points out the hardware isn’t what’s really important. No, it’s what’s going to show up on the AppStore specifically for the iPad. I think I’ve heard a few M.I.T. types say this before. It’s unimportant what it does. The question is what ‘else’ does it do. And that ‘else’ is the software developer’s coin of the realm. Without developers these products have no legs, no markets outside of the loyal fan base. What may come, no one can tell but it will be interesting times for the iPad owners that’s for sure.