MacWorld's Chris Breen has posted the magazine's first review of the iPad (The iPad: Betwixt and Between) and has awarded the newcomer four out of five mice. The title refers to Steve Jobs' launch comment that the iPad lies between the iPhone and the Mac. Breen says that after a few hours he understood the depth of the "in-between" nature of the iPad: "Just about everywhere you turn you find a hybridization of the iPhone and Mac OS."
"Certainly," he continues, "elbow room plays a part–the device offers the kind of space that allows more elements on the screen–but it's interesting to wade into the device and its applications and see where Apple expanded as well as compromised between the iPhone and Mac." As an example he cites the PIM applications–Mail, Contacts and Calender–which "owe more to the Mac OS than the iPhone. And they do largely because of the roominess of the iPad's display."
He summarises: "Once you've used an iPad you understand just how silly the "its nothing but a big iPod touch" claim is. Size matters. It's much more enjoyable to watch a video on an iPad. You can actually read a book on the thing in a way that doesn't feel cramped. The increased size means fewer finger swipes and taps…"
But, he says, the iPad in its present form isn't a laptop replacement. Typing on the virtual keyboard is something of a compromise, as on the iPhone and iPod touch, but there are some things the iPad just won't do: "Printing for example. Apple provides no solution. And if you want to set up a family member with an iPad, be prepared to bring along a computer so you can configure that member's wireless network (and keep it on hand if that network ever goes down and the iPad is the only computing device in the home)."
"But in-between? Apple's on to something. It seems like a perfect fit."