Apple Announces the “iPad” to Our Collective Horror (and Excitement?)

What’s in a Name?

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In case you were taking a sabbatical from technology (infidel!), at a yoga retreat or stranded on the island from LOST, you probably heard about the iPad.

In fact, you’ve probably told any number of variations on the obvious joke here to anyone who will listen. Me too. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

The name of the iPad, while not the iSlate (sexy) or the iTab (better), does fit into Apple’s naming scheme, and the iPad, along the iPod and the iPhone, rounds out Steve Jobs’ holy trinity in a vaguely logical, if totally regrettable way. I haven’t managed to say “iPad” with a straight face so far, so I’m not sure where we go from here.

If you have a little bit of catching up to do, you can check out our previous coverage of the object formerly known as the Apple Tablet. Yes, I will call it the Apple Tablet and double the amount of syllables necessary to pronounce just to avoid calling it the iPad.

You can also read my feelings and postulations about the iPad from nearly two months ago, which remain intact and appear unchanged by today’s Apple press conference in San Francisco.

The iPad Facts:

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Here’s a selection of iPad tech specs on the from Apple. Just the facts- nothin’ but.

“Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbeatable price.”

Apple’s official specs page really seems to be stretching out any info they have. Really, did we need an entire paragraph on filetypes for mail attachment support? Here’s the main info:

New!:
+ 9.56 inches tall
+ 7.47 inches wide
+ 0.5 inches thick
+ 1024-by-768-resolution at 132 pixels per inch
+ 1.5 pounds: Wi-Fi model
+ 1.6 pounds: Wi-Fi + 3G model

Same Ol’:
+ Accelerometer
+ GPS, Wireless connectivity, 3G on some models
+ Multitouch technology (like when you double tap to copy & paste on an iPhone)

Etc:
+ Accessories (not included): Kindle-esque iPad case, iPad keyboard dock (which turns the thing into something vaguely laptop-like), any number of connecting cables.

Not here:
+ Camera
+ Video Camera
+ USB ports
+ Multitasking

 

How Much Will the iPad Cost Me?

A big surprise here (as we don’t often expect Apple to err on the side of thrift) is the pricing.

There are different models of the iPad starting at $499. A lot of folks were expecting the iPad to cost around $1,000. So that’s nice. Options are nice, right?

There are two different models with three tiers of pricing, based on storage space:

The Wifi only model will start at $499. The cheapest iPad version features 16 GB of storage (for $499). From there 32 GB is $599 and 64 GB will put you out $699.

For the 3G enabled model, which will allow for almost-constant connectivity, like an iPhone, you’ll pay $629 for 16 GB, $729 for 32 GB and $829 for 64 GB.

But when can I have the iPad, damnit?

Wifi models of the iPad will ship in late march, while 3G versions will start shipping in April.

Things I am underwhelmed about:

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// Gaming. I don’t know who the target market is here. Serious gamers will play on consoles and computers. But they seem to want to impress a kind of serious gaming demographic. Why?

// The awkward angle of typing/impending carpal tunnel.

// Frankly, I don’t care about running apps on a tablet all that much. It’s like running programs on a netbook, except everything gets regulated by an overlord in a black mock turtleneck.

// E-Reading. My iPhone is making me go blind. I am trying to stop reading on it as much, so I don’t see an advantage here over e-ink readers, except the “all-in-one” factor.

// The iTunes store. Meh. Media getting revolutionized? Hm. That may require further thought. Thinking is hard.

// “Arsenic-free display glass.” Arsenic might be a dealbreaker, I suppose.

// Connectivity. Er, you need a usb adapter? And a most-things adapter? I hate adapters.

iPad Dealmakers/Dealbreakers:

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Multitasking! I can’t believe there won’t be multi-app support. I cannot believe it. I may be in denial, actually, I am so unsettled. How can this compete with netbooks?! Or Android phones, even?

++ 3G connectivity with no ball & chain phone contract! I am loving what the Nexus One pioneered. I can’t wait to do away with my phone contract and go data-only! As soon as I figure out the best way to do it, that is.

++ It’s pretty. Want.

The big wide bezel makes it look like a goofy iphone, though. It’s a bit less sleek than some of the concept art. I linked the definition of bezel, because I just learned that word this afternoon. Full disclosure, guys.

Why not just use my Macbook?

iPad’s plain ol’ LED backlit display vs. OLED/E-Ink.

+/- The size is cute and makes for good readability, but I wish it could fold into my pocket because I would love better word processing on my iPhone.

I feel like the iPad is still an underpowered netbook sans keyboard and I am being tricked into not thinking this.

There are about a bajillion alternatives to an iPad on the horizon.

++ The iPad case makes things a little less awkward, maybe. It looks sexier in there and I like the idea of a real notebook style computer. It taps into my undying love for Trapper Keepers.

++ “Arsenic-free display glass.”

No “wow” factor. Really. None. No tactile feedback technology, no OLED, nothin’ out of left field.

iPad not the iMessiah but maybe more like an iApostle?:

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The iPad is a grown up iPhone. It’s basically just like the most boring Apple tablet concept art. I’m pretty let down here. Steve Jobs seemed kind of bored with it too, chillin’ in that weird black leather chair and telling me about how the iPad will revolutionize everything but he doesn’t feel like standing up. I know he’s ill, but hey, it’s Apple- build him a giant robot war-vessel like in Avatar!

So what’s the verdict on the iPad? My feelings are still a little up in the air, but I’m pretty underwhelmed. And I’m not just playing coy. I wanted to love the iPad. I made a frivolous little tablet shaped place in my heart for it. I made us dinner reservations for two.  I even forgave the possibility of its potentially horrendous name.

What do you think, guys? Will you buy an iPad? Would you, if you could afford to? How would you use it? Where does the iPad fit into your life? I bet you have so many feelings and ideas to share!

Also, I’d like to formally announce some kind of iPad joke competition here, because now that everyone got that first wave of jokes out of their system, making fun of the name got kind of hard.






Taylor has written 137 articles for us.

66 Comments

  1. i can not imagine holding this for hours trying to use it, im pretty sure my hands would fall off eventually. and i guess if i were to use it on the dock id probs touch the screen too hard and then KABOOM, no more iPad.

  2. yeah, i really don’t see the point…it’s basically just a supersized iphone, right? except you can fit an iphone in your pocket. i have a macbook, and if i didn’t have a macbook, i would want to get a macbook and not this.

    • this is exactly what I wanted to say, and also, I feel like at one point your hands would fall off if you use it too much? And where do you put it? If you’re going to have to bring a bag or something to carry it around in, you might as well bring your laptop.

  3. Do. Not. Want. And I wanted to want it so badly! The 3G option is the only good thing, and it’s certainly not blowing me away. I’ll save my money and wait a year or two until there are better options out there.

    • agreed. the wanting…it has left the building. interestingly enough, the iPad suffers from the same problems as every other apple product: fewer features for more money. it’s the marketing machine that makes me want to spend $1200 on a macbook when my $800 PC (specs-wise) can do twice as much. methinks the marketing machine had a blue screen of death today, cuz this is an epic poem of fail.

  4. LOOK AT THAT UGLY HUGE BLACK BEZEL. ok now that i have that out of my system. Where was the iphone 4.0 software in the keynote? oh right there wasn’t anything. I want to see what the new iphone brings before I lump down any cash on this tablet. I am just going to call it the Apple Tablet because that other word is just bad news bears. I can say one thing the screen looks nice, minus the bezel.

  5. Underwhelmed is completely right. I wanted to want this so bad, like so bad! Maybe I had too many hopes, like I wanted to be able to touch it with all my fingers and it would recognize my movements. I wanted to be able to write on it with a stylus and it recognized my horrible handwriting with complete ease. Also, I’m sorry but it’s a little hard for my brain to understand that I can’t multitask. :[ I feel like Apple should just have held out until they produced something that totally blew everyone out of the water, regardless of price. Maybe next time around? On a positive note, the picture quality looks amazing!

    • Maybe he genuinely loves it.

      Or he’s really excited to be one of the first Chosen Ones.

      Or he’s been “given it” along with a stipulation that he pimp it to everyone he encounters. He’s part of the marketing plan.

      Or it’s like the time that I got a free Starbuck’s coffee on election day. I can normally only drink lattes there- the regular coffee is way to bitter for me. But I took one sip and thought “This is GREAT!” then wondered, “Is it great? Or am I confusing great and free because I have 3 dollars in my bank account?”. The second sip came so close to making me ill I threw it out immediately.

      (In defence of Starbucks, I probs hadn’t eaten in 24 hours and had already had 4 cups of my own brew before 9am… grad school was so unhealthy for me)

  6. No “wow” factor is right! I mean, hello apple, I was expecting it to make me a sandwich or do something else god-like. iPhone on steroids, dude.

    Well, I admit that I want one; however, I think investing in an actual MacBook might be a better choice in the long-run. Grr, the urge to play with it is killing me though. (That’s what she said?)

  7. The name iPad is so terrible that I want to go to the Apple store and buy one immediately. But I won’t. The dealbreaker for me is that it looks so sleek – I feel like it’ll get me mugged the moment I take it out of the house.

  8. I am so incredibly underwhelmed by it, and CANNOT BELIEVE that people would pay 499 dollars for 16 GB of info and only a Wifi network. The 3G enabled one is more. Like, starts at 629. Also, you’ll still need a data plan, so still contracts. My netbook cost 349 dollars, stores more, does more, and with the money I saved I could PROBABLY get satellite internet. I know Apple!love is like loving your own child or something, but I just don’t get it, man!

    I also wish I could just copy/paste all my comments from the jennifer Beals thread about this.

    • Also, I work for a company that does independent quality testing/review for computer devices/software, and I got to see/play with the iPad awhile ago, because one of my co-workers was assigned to it. I really wanted to post last week “GUYS PLEASE DO NOT GET TOO EXCITED, IT WILL LED TO HEARTBREAK” last week, but I could get fired/sued because of all the confidentiality paperwork we have to sign.

  9. Aw man. I thought it would be the one thing that would make me go to the Dark Apple side. Hell, the only reason I ever got an iPod (specifically, an iPod Touch, last June) was because I won one from MySpace. Anyone who’s been to my Malaysian uni has sworn off Macs because the ones there never worked.

    BUT. So much dealbreaking! No stylus, no multi-apps (OMG I’m so annoyed with the app store, the upgrades COST MONEY WTH), DRM’d e-books…bah! Nothing worthwhile.

    My dad’s usual computer dealer (ha, sounds like a drug) came by to his office roundabout 2002 with a Tablet PC, I think it was Acer’s. It was basically Windows XP just on a tablet, and the tablet had a stylus and could recognise my chickenscratch and everything. I wanted it SO BAD but my dad didn’t get one. It seems lightyears compared to this expanded iPhone. bah.

    I still want a Tablet, and I’m going to look up the link to alternatives that you just provided.

    • (OMG I’m so annoyed with the app store, the upgrades COST MONEY WTH)

      I am concerned because I’ve never paid for an update on my applications! They’re always “free” updates. Are you sure about this?

      If the iPhone didn’t bring you to the dark side, nothing will me thinks.

  10. Yawn (and not just because I’m hitting 48 hours of no sleep).

    It’s really not that small, so the portability thing isn’t exactly an automatic win, and I don’t see any advantage over the netbooks. At least those you can slip into a bag without worrying about the screen getting all scratched up. And they have keyboards.

    And, yeah, no multi-app abilities? Combined with an continued bottleneck on apps which can be used on it? That’s such a joke…

    • It’s seems like they were trying to compete with the Kindle first instead of other tablets… the thing is, they obviously know everything that’s missing from the iPad (hahahhahah) but they’re playing their game of launching an update every 3 months or somn like that… I’ll wait for multitasking to even consider buying it. If I got it now, I’d probably only use the ipad for some days each month. There, I made another ipad joke.

      soapbox: playing chess on that thing would be AWESOME. Or any other boardgame. The way I imagine playing scrabble involves both of us having iphones and an ipad. That would be totally rad.

  11. Completely underwhelmed. Sigh. It’s kind of ugly and awkward looking. The apps don’t make sense to me. The Facebook demo was redik.

    That said, if I had tons of cash to play with, I would get it. For twitter, obvs.

        • Hahaha! Seriously. The lack of multitasking is so dumb. The iPhone arguably doesn’t because of memory issues. The ipad shouldn’t have that issue! (I do have multi-app on my iPhone bc I jailbroke it. It generally works fine when I browse/chat/tweet and listen to pandora/Internet radio at the same time so even there it’s not a great argument) That kind of thing is what annoys me and makes me such an anti-mac person. That’s right I said it. I only got the iPhone bc the phone store gave it to me free with activation. It’s so anti open-source and restrictive. Ugh. Without hackers, there wouldn’t be an app store.

          Of course, perhaps a big hacking underground will open up for this product like the wii and iPhone, where people will figure out the true capabilities.

          Sorry for the rant. Perhaps autostraddle can do a mac vs pc column sometime?

          • A mac vs Pc column would probably degenerate into angry opposing lesbians, if the rest of the internet is any indication. Or my office.

          • I will float the idea for the mac vs. pc thing. Also i was thinking about what the hack would be for the Tablet to run OSX modified or something like that instead of a larger version of the iphone software. Jail breaking will happen just like homebrew and just like with the iphone it is just a matter of time. I was also anti mac for a long time and then I got one I try to curb my inner fangirl as much as possible.

          • I actually own both a mac and a pc and still not an apple fangirl. I’m starting to think that I’m broken, or invulnerable to their Vulcan mindmeld or something lol.

          • I also have access to both a mac and a pc. A mac was my first computer back in the day and I have used it for high school and college newspaper and at various work offices. Still not a fan as jenthejew said. Are we broken? Where’s the kool-aid?

  12. I’ve come to expect this kind of crap from Apple.

    Also, I’m a technical writer so I’ve known was a bezel is for AGES… but I still think it’s a great word!

  13. i’m actually extremely disappointed. i love apple sooo much, but this seems completely worthless. the only good thing is the 3G, they should just make laptops that come with 3G and multi-touch screens.

  14. The point of this whole thing is a platform to developers to create AMAZING, touch-based games that you can’t even imagine yet.

    It is the games that will drive sales of this platform. Games, and the way this will change publishing of books as we know it, forever.

    You may not get it now, but you will.

    This is also going to make a number of developers very, very wealthy.

    • I can certainly see the potential and understand the need for a starting point for developers to start working with, but just can’t see why anyone would buy it at this stage except to say they have one.

      And if it’s to change publishing, it’s gotta do something about the screen. Just my daily Autostraddle reading time makes my eyes hurt (but SO WORTH IT).

  15. My feelings are: the iPad is not THE future but it’s a significant a step towards the future. The iPad will give-way to other fancy developments…

    I’m looking forward to the day I can use photoshop and illustrator with the touch of my fingertips! Also, I want to play the Sims with this thing.

    • I would agree with this. I feel like Stevo Jobsies just got a little antsy/scared of his impending death and jumped the gun before it was done. When someone creates something that looks exactly like what he made with all the capabilities of a Macbook Pro… THEN it will be a big deal and I will buy one. But they will improve it a 100 times between now and then and I don’t want to have to keep buying the better version every time one comes out. So he got the ball rolling but probably HP or somebody will wait and come out with the real deal until they actually get it right.

      • HP already came out with a full-size computer that’s touch. Called, in fact, the Touchsmart. It’s cool and all, but touch computers don’t appeal much to me. I just think it’s funny that a lot of people are forgetting a touch computer already exists.

  16. It doesn’t even have wings.

    Honestly!

    But seriously, it’s pretty and all and I love new gadgets as much as the next nerd, but that thing just doesn’t make sense. Who wants to type with your pointer fingers on your lap? Cause that seems the ~only logical way to do it. My thumbs don’t stretch that far, you know. I’d rather pay less for a cute little laptop that does everything I need and spend the rest of video games and REAL books with REAL pages to turn.

  17. The name is ridiculous. I am so underwhelmed its not even funny. I second everyone elses previous comments about it. I wanted to want it so bad. Apple fucked this one up, extremely disappointed and I feel like they are being a little lazy.

  18. The absence of hand-writing recognition was the deal-breaker for me. I had visions of sitting in meeting writing on my iPad with my iPon… maybe next year.

  19. While it would be nice for my dude friends to not be uncomfortable with the mention of a pad, I still covet the iPod touch.

    But if I’m going to get anything besides a laptop, I want it to hide in my pocket and wouldn’t want to share with the boys anyway.

  20. The reason why one would want to buy the iBip is its weight. It weights like half the Macbook Air, which in turn is almost half some other macbooks.

    It’s heavy compared to an iPhone, certainly not to a Macbook.

    If you use your macbook mainly for surfing and doing email, music, photos and videos, I see no reason why you wouldn’t want it. Except music, all the above is way better on the iBip than on the Macbook.

  21. Other thoughts about the iBeep. The more I think about it, the more I realize that it’s probably the best product in that market category. The “inbetween” market is “naturally” much smaller than phones or computers.

    And if you remember, the first generation iPhone needed big improvements as well.

    In brief, it’s not something I NEED like the iPhone or the Mac; but it’s something I’d rather have than not. Because of what it is now, and because of what it is about to become in the near future.

  22. I mean, on a super-geek level, I’m excited about Apple introducing its own processor. There’s so much potential here! I think I’ll wait till the 3rd generation or so, and by then it will have all the functionality/loving robot arms/kitty tail I’d hoped for.

  23. Fact: The iPad was what finally prompted me to buy a netbook. AppLOL. #pc4lyfe

    [also, I feel like such a troll commenting on this just to say that. It’s not because I don’t like apple! It’s just that I find it funny that apple’s latest device made me buy another pc. Anyone? No? Just me? OK! I’m okay with that. Lalalalala!]

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