Almost 24 hours since the announcement of the iPad and I've read reams of comments from technical commentators and seen hundreds of forum posts from potential buyers. Sentiment isn't wholly for the iPad, I have to say. If anything, it is very much fifty fifty between lovers and haters. Originally the haters were moaning about the presumed high price of the device. But now the price is seen to be very attractive, criticism has focused on things that are missing from the iPad–in particular multi-tasking and a front-facing camera for chat sessions.
I, too, have these doubts. I am seriously disappointed at the lack of multi-tasking. This alone would set the iPad apart from the iPhone whereas, at the moment, it is seen to be simply a monster iPhone. I really don't understand Apple's reluctance to introduce MT, even for the iPhone. Android and other smartphone systems are already offering multi-tasking and the venerable Windows Mobile has had it for years. We have to accept that there must be a good reason, whether it be battery life or stability. I have no doubt that multi-tasking will come sooner rather than later–and for the iPhone as well. Steve & Co will be reading all the same comments this morning and certainly cannot miss the message.
If we look beyond these initial gripes, we see a product with great potential. It was a telling comment that there are at least 75 million people out there who already know how to use the iPad. And there are some 150 million people with iTunes accounts who will be exposed to the new iBookstore. Kindles and Sony Readers are currently niche market players. Maybe it will take Apple's muscle to establish ebook reading as the norm.
The iPad is as good an indicator as any for the future of portable computing. Touch interfaces are here to stay and the iPad format is iconic in its simplicity. I think it will succeed.