After it was announced back in January, the unfortunately named Apple iPad ($699 direct, 64GB Wi-Fi) seemed like it could be the company's first major clunker in a long time: An expensive niche product that would inhabit a nebulous region between laptops and smartphones, but wouldn't quite eliminate the need for either one. Aside from Apple enthusiasts, many of us wondered who would drop hundreds of dollars for this not-quite-computer. But having used the iPad for some time, I can tell you that the device just makes sense. When you combine basic-but-essential work tools with iWork, an improved browser, e-mail, iPod, and photo applications, a well-executed e-Book platform with iBooks, and throw in thousands of downloadable apps and games, and package it all in a gorgeous, slim slate with a beautiful 9.7-inch touch screen, you have yourself a winner. Is the iPad cheap? No. Is it flawless? Not at all. Omissions including support for multitasking, a built-in camera for video chats, and Flash support in Safari leave room for improvement, but otherwise, the Apple iPad is a very convincing debut. And it will undoubtedly be a driving force in shaping the emerging tablet landscape.
Apple Computer Inc.
- Price as Tested: $699.00 Direct
- Email Access: Dedicated email app
- Storage Capacity: 64 GB
- Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.5 x 0.5 inches
- Networking Options: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n
- Screen Size: 9.7 inches
- Weight: 1.5 lb
- Notes: Pricing: Wi-Fi: $499 (16GB), $599 (32GB), $699 (64GB). Wi-Fi + 3G: $629 (16GB), $729 (32GB), $829 (64GB).