The iPad: hit or miss?

On Monday I posted on the imminent launch of the "iSlate", which it turns out in the launch tonight is actually called the iPad. Think a big iPod Touch. Or half a small laptop without the keyboard bit.

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Interesting point made in Steve Jobs' intro. Apple is the world's leading mobile device company. Add up laptops,phones and iPods and it sells more mobile devices that anyone, including Nokia, Sony and Samsung. And the iPad is designed to strengthen that leadership position.

The idea of the iPad is to fill a gap between the iPhone and MacBook. Steve Jobs rightly says that to be a hit it has to do some things much better than either of these devices. And Apple reckons it will do this for eBooks, web browsing, games and a few other things as well.

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So, hit or miss?

The Good Stuff

1. Drop-dead gorgeous: as you'd expect. My 11 year old daughter summed this up. "I don't know what it does. But I want one anyway".

2. Great for eBooks and eMags: this is the one big advantage I can see over a laptop. You can read eBooks or newspapers much more easily in 'portrait' mode. When you turn the iPad around it automatically shifts from landscape to portrait, like the iPhone.

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3. Pricing: starts at $499, way below many estimates of $999. With 3G built in so you can use it on the go it costs $629 for the base model. If you want to use the built in 3G capability you need to buy a monthly allowance, priced from $14.99 a month with AT&T in the US.

4. iBook store: easy and intuitive to shop. Can this do for eBooks what iTunes did for digital music?
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5.Decent sized 'virtual' keyboard: makes it good for doing email on the go

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The big question:"device-fatigue" can people really make room in their life for one more device? Personally, I have a MacBook and an iPhone. Do I really need an iPad? Its bigger than I was expecting, so feels like a small laptop. And its one more device to sync, charge up, carry around. I'm not sure.

But I guess another way of looking at it is for people who don't have a laptop, or who are ready to replace one with an iPad. Compared to a laptop Its smaller, lighter and has excellent claimed battery life of 10 hours. The starting price point of $499 is very accessible. And there are 75million people who have an iPhone or iPod Touch. That's already a big group of people who they can target.

So, not for me perhaps. But it could still be a hit.

What do you think?