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Early iPad reviews show product still has room to improve

After several weeks of anticipation, Apple’s iPad debuted this weekend and its first-generation users had a chance to see if the new tablet computer really has the potential to change the media landscape.

The iPad had no shortage of hype surrounding its release, but after combing through several reviews for the new product, it seems like Apple’s latest innovation may not shake the media industry like some had expected. The initial gut reaction from the product is that the iPad is more of a toy than an evolution in media consumption.

Sure, it is cool. But will it inspire a media revolution? Hardly.

In the weeks leading up to the iPad’s release, some heralded the product as a tool that could eliminate all previous e-readers, significantly alter laptop sales, and most significantly—and most unrealistically optimistic—save the newspaper industry. The pay models that newspapers had planned to deliver on the iPad seemed good in theory, but reviews of the early editions of these apps show that the pay models don’t offer anything more substantial than the free models currently available online.

In fact, some of the limitations of the iPad (such as its inability to run Flash), make the current browser-based media website a more viable option for media consumers.

One of the best early summaries of the iPad came from new media expert Jeff Jarvis, who said that, “after having slept with her (Ms. iPad), I woke up with morning-after regrets. She’s sweet and pretty but shallow and vapid.” Jarvis’ description of the iPad is indicative of the early reviews of the product, showing that Apple still has a long way to go before the iPad becomes a widely used machine or serves as competition for the traditional laptop business.

Right now, it seems like the iPad is a tool for Apple’s most loyal customers and the casual media consumer won’t flock to the Apple store to get replace their current computer with iPad. However, Apple has a proven history of making steady improvements in subsequent releases of its products, so we can assume that the iPad will only get better and still has potential to answer some of the early criticisms.


Category: New Media Thoughts

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