Here's another well-rounded review of the new iBeast, this time from Engadget, an outfit that I respect hugely. The Engadget podcasts, in particular, are a delight and serve to remind a Mac-blinkered columnist that there is life outside Cupertino.
Engadget's reviewer, no less a personage that Mr. J. Topolsky himself, has some very nice things to say about the iPad. But it isn't all praise, and Apple's decision to exclude multi-tasking, except with some of the built-in apps, comes in for censure. Says Topolsky:
"So how much of a stumbling block is the lack of multitasking? The honest truth is that a large number of users won't notice or care, which is why it's easy for Apple to ignore the problem (or claim that their OS supports the functionality because they allow a handful of their native apps to run in the background). For the rest of us, this is starting to feel just like copy and paste — a problem so obvious and so easy to fix that it's just perplexing Apple doesn't come up with a solution and end the conversation. The iPad may do many things better than a netbook, but multitasking is not one of them."
But Engadget is blown over by the sexy iBooks app, there's no doubt of that:
"To say Apple is about to put a major dent in Kindleworld is an understatement. The iBooks app is one of the most beautiful and thoughtful uses of the iPad screen real estate on the device. Besides the incredibly sexy page turning animations — useless but gorgeous nonetheless — the entire package is just so airtight. It's the first e-book reading experience we've seen that seems to truly understand the visceral, sensual enjoyment of holding an actual volume in your hand."
In terms of ease of use and user experience, Topolski says: "There's no question that the route Apple has taken is genius; they've built a "computer" that's so obvious and easy to use that anyone can pick it up and understand it immediately."
Engadget's verdict? "The buyer of an iPad is one of two people, the first is someone who sees not just the present, but the potential of a product like the iPad… and believes in and is excited about that potential. This is also a person who can afford what amounts to a luxury item. The second is an individual who simply doesn't need to get that much work done, and would prefer their computing experience to be easier, faster, and simpler. Does that sound like anyone you know?"