Click HERE to see more images from the Engadget live blog.
Read about the specs HERE.
The inability to multitask with this first-generation iPad is a bummer. So is the absence of a camera and USB ports (the camera I can do without, but no USB ports? It would mean I'd need to buy more accessories from Apple just to connect stuff to it, more things to carry in my backpack already full of laptop and cellphone accoutrements -- my MagSafe power adapter alone is already too heavy).
But would I want to buy it? Yes, but perhaps not this edition. It looks really sleek, though. Like me, most people madly anticipating this tablet was a bit disappointed due to the absence of rumored specs. Many also took issue with the Apple team's breathless pronouncements of the iPad being a "magical" product. "No it's not, it's just an oversized iPod," they say. That was also my first impression. However, two days after the launch, I'm beginning to see that Steve Jobs may be correct.
Ok, so as an e-reader it's going to be top-notch, and has the potential to revolutionize the publishing industry with the iBooks. It will be using e-books in the epub format, which is good news especially for literature buffs since a lot of classics can now be downloaded for free in this format from websites such as Project Gutenberg. However, I'm still not sure whether I'd like to pay for content that I can get now for free, such as newspaper and magazine articles, no matter how cool the user interface will be. Game recaps and videos of photo shoots I can do without. If Apple and the publishing houses really want people to actually pay for their online editions, they have to come up with content that is NOT yet being legally offered for free right now, otherwise people will feel it's a scam.
For me, I can imagine it being useful in note-taking, though really I still prefer to use pen and paper. However, I think the iPad would be very useful in blogging, just turn it on and type away (I can't really say the same thing about laptops, which are heavier and not as fast.)
As a device to watch movies, I'm not too thrilled by its screen format, plus the fact that if you want to watch stuff in it, you'd have to download them to the iPad (mostly from Apple). I like downloading free, high-definition trailers though from iTunes, so this would be a good device to drown in Tron Legacy's coolness before it hits the theaters in December.
However, like the iPod Touch and the iPhone, the iPad is a platform. It can be anything you want it to be, depending on what App you're using.
I see the iPad not just as the ultimate device for consuming content. I also see it as a very high-tech wide, flat surface, and THAT's what makes it different from any other hand-held device or laptop out there. I can definitely see people using the iPad to learn how to play instruments, like keyboards (and bongos?). Turntablism. For families and friends, the iPad could be the high-tech upgrade of board games: chess, trivial pursuit, scrabble. What about 3-D technology? If they could find a way to make 3-D images or holograms rise up from its surface, who knows what media monster it could turn into.
The iPad certainly will be a very useful tool for work. I can imagine people using it for checklists in monitoring in, say, factories and hospitals. Architects and engineers will certainly find it useful, so are court transcribers and waiters in high-end restaurants. The iPad can be high-tech sketchpads for designers, a digital script board for actors, a tool to save paper. No smartphones or laptops can do these things right now.
Perhaps Steve Jobs has already foreseen these possibilities as to be driven to declare that the iPad is "magical."
I believe him. I want one.