Earlier today, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in California, Apple finally made the announcement: the rumored tablet computer was shown, and was given an official name now.
Folks, say hello to the iPad!
And as it's been shown today, reactions have been polarized. On one side are the people yelling out "ZOMG MUST BUY!!!!111!!1!", and on the other side are people saying that the iPad is not worth it whatsoever. And here's what is really funny: even those that are dismissing the iPad will buy it anyway, just because it looks so cool.
While I think it looks pretty cool, I have a couple of minor gripes about it. First, it's not running Mac OS X (as was originally rumored), but instead is running the iPhone OS. While this means that apps for the iPhone OS will run right off the bat on it, most of these apps were meant for the smaller screen of the iPhone or iPod Touch, and not for the 1024x768 screen on the iPad, so expect either a lot of scaled graphics or very small images displayed. Second, having one model without WiFi or 3G and one with is rather stupid. Personally, I think that WiFi and 3G should just have been a standard for every model of iPad, and only have the differences be in storage capacity. Third, the price is too high, but like all Apple products, you're paying for premium computing here.
But to balance my gripes is a little praise as well. The iPad certainly looks wicked... it reminds me a lot of the data pads from Star Trek: The Next Generation (and it would be even cooler if the iPads ran LCARS ;) ). The iPad may not be the computer for super-geeks like myself, but people who really just want a computer that works and does exactly what they need without any headaches will love it. The user interface is dead easy to use, which will attract a whole new wave of consumers. Hey, people had once said that the GUI was for brain-dead morons, but the GUI is now ubiquitous in computing, and this is coming from the mouth of a command-line junkie!
I may not be buying an iPad any time soon, but I'll certainly love to play around with one to see what it's capable of. Just as the original Macintosh once revolutionized computing by bringing the GUI to the masses and making the computer simple and elegant for many users, the iPad is prepared to do the same in the 21st century: revolutionize computing and carry it to a whole new level. As it stands, the iPad may be the very computer that will take cloud computing into... well, the clouds! :)
If you would like to read more about the iPad, Cult of Mac has a great article about it here.