With an unbelievable amount of hype behind it, Apple's rumored tablet launched this week with mixed reactions, but an overall positive reception considering the crazy expectations set over the past few months.
If anything, the iPad announcement has opened the door to discuss once again the future of personal computing and whether the Tablet form factor will finally reach the masses. Sitting between the iPhone and a full-fledged laptop according to Apple, from the looks of it and the software environment it is based on, the iPad is a giant iPod Touch/iPhone with some enhanced functionality that take advantage of the larger screen and added processing power.
Apple wants to challenge the netbook which in spite of its obvious shortcomings – many of which have continuously been addressed – has been selling incredibly well and remains a trend of innovation and growth in the PC market.
Fueled by the popularity and success of the iPhone, the iPad doesn't reinvent the wheel like the smartphone did a few years ago, but it builds upon its strengths while inheriting some of its biggest flaws like the lack of multi-tasking and the closed environment that seemed more forgivable on a cell phone than it could ever be on a real computer.
However, given Apple's impressive track of success, I wouldn't dare to call off the iPad this early in the game. The company has showed an amazing ability at marrying the proper software with its own hardware, a feat almost impossible to duplicate in the PC world. The iPad pricing ($499-$829) caught more than one by surprise, but that's not to say it's cheap. In comparison, a last-gen netbook like the HP Mini 311 that sells for $400 carries an 11.6-inch display, Atom/Ion combo, 160GB HDD, USB/HDMI connectivity and will run any kind of Windows software you throw at it.
Ultimately it's you, the early adopters and consumers, who decide to pay or not for such a device and what use you make of it.
Is the iPad for you, why or why not? Discuss.