Apple's iPad: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

First impressions of Apple’s iPad are mixed.

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It's the moment the tech world has been waiting for...drumroll, please. Apple has announced its latest—and what some say—greatest creation yet. It's the biggest news since the launch of the iPhone. In the days leading up to the event, reports said it could cost as much as $1,000 and that it could be called the iTablet or the iSlate. Now it's final: It's called the iPad, and it's going to be aggressively priced so Apple can get as many iPads into as many hands as quickly as possible. Apple is betting that the iPad will crush competitors.

[See Mobile Tech That Stole the Decade.]

After bringing the music industry to its knees and revolutionizing the way people buy music, Steve Jobs is ready to transform the way books, newspapers, and other publications are sold, purchased, and read. If you've seen the pictures and you've got to have it, place your order now and you might have one by the end of March. Most of the news reported on today's event was positive, but there are still some unanswered questions—and a few that we've all heard before.

[Also see Apple iPod Touts Environmental Cred.]

The good. Attendees at today's announcement were impressed with the iPad's look and performance. Gizmodo.com bloggers were some of the first to try out the new device and said: "It's substantial but surprisingly light. Easy to grip. Beautiful. Rigid. Starkly designed. And it's fasssstttt. ... It feels at least a generation faster than the iPhone 3GS." The iPad comes with a 10-inch screen and weighs about 1.5 pounds. Users will get what they're accustomed to having on their iPod—apps, videos, music, internet—with Apple's newest addition, the iBook app. Apple also unveiled partnerships with five major publishers: Hachette, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan. Apple users will be able to use the iBook to download books just as they use iTunes to download music.

The bad. Shoppers will have to pony up for the gadget. The 16 GB iPad with Wi-Fi starts at $499, while the 16 GB iPad with 3G coverage starts at $630 plus a monthly fee for the data plan. An unlimited data plan will cost another $30 per month. If you buy it, you may want to want to protect it. Prices for iPad accessories haven't been released, but if you're willing to cough up $500-plus for the new tablet then you might consider the case/kickstand combination that Apple is offering. To make for easier reading, the iPad case will come with a built-in stand. Users also can purchase a keyboard dock (if they still haven't fully adjusted to typing on a touch screen). Complaints about the iPad include the lack of a camera and still no support for Flash software (which is why you see that little box when you try to log on to some websites that use Flash).

The ugly. In a move that could prove frustrating for many users, Apple decided to offer exclusive network rights to AT&T instead of a combination of providers. iPhone users in large urban areas, most notably New York, have complained about AT&T's network coverage and customer service for months. They have also complained about AT&T's 3G coverage for iPhone plans, and it remains to be seen how AT&T's network will respond to another influx of users with the release of the iPad.


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