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April 1, 2010

Apple’s iPad Drawing Rave Reviews

The early reviews are in, and critics who have gotten a sneak peak at Apple's iPad tablet computer seem to be falling in love with the device, which is due out on Saturday, April 3.

"The first iPad is a winner," writes Edward C. Baig of USA Today. "It stacks up as a formidable electronic-reader rival for Amazon's Kindle. It gives portable game machines from Nintendo and Sony a run for their money. At the very least, the iPad will likely drum up mass-market interest in tablet computing in ways that longtime tablet visionary and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates could only dream of."

"The iPad is not so much about what you can do-- browse, do e-mail, play games, read e-books and more--but how you can do it," he added. "That's where Apple is rewriting the rulebook for mainstream computing. There is no mouse or physical keyboard. Everything is based on touch. All programs arrive directly through Apple's App Store. Apple's tablet is fun, simple, stunning to look at and blazingly fast."

"After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop," says Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg, adding that the success of the device will depend on the public perception of it.

"If people see the iPad mainly as an extra device to carry around, it will likely have limited appeal," he says. "If, however, they see it as a way to replace heavier, bulkier computers much of the time--for Web surfing, email, social-networking, video- and photo-viewing, gaming, music and even some light content creation--it could be a game changer the way Apple's iPhone has been."

Mossberg also states that, as an e-reader, the device is "better"¦ than the Amazon Kindle." He said that the large color screen was superior to Amazon's device, but lamented the fact that it was far heavier than the Kindle, lacked the ability to enter notes, and would launch with a much smaller library than its chief rival in the e-reader market.

The early reviews were not without their criticisms, however.

Like Mossberg, David Pogue of the New York Times felt that it was too heavy, and also mentioned that the screen was too hard to read in direct sunlight. However, both Pogue and Mossberg were impressed with the device's battery life. Though Apple claimed it would last for 10 hours on a single charge, Mossberg noted using his for nearly 11.5 hours continuously, and Pogue's iPad lasted 12 hours.

Melissa J. Perenson of PC World noted that the "device's functionality exhibits both promise, and disappointment"¦ Because of the larger display, pretty much all of the native applications we're used to viewing on the iPhone look and function better on the iPad. What I've seen so far of video playback of content purchased on iTunes appeared stunning on the iPad"¦ [but] if you plan to do a lot of typing, the iPad's touch keyboard is no match for the physical keyboard found on a netbook."

"As a photo viewer, the iPad shines," she added. "Photos looked superb on the iPad's display, and it uses all of the familiar multitouch gestures (flick, pinch to zoom) found on the iPhone's photo app. The iPad's ample screen showcase images well, and it permits you to preview many more images, more easily than on the smaller iPhone."

The iPad comes in 16GB, 32 GB, and 64GB sizes, with costs currently ranging from $499 to $699. A 3G option will become available later this month at an additional cost of $130.

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