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Nice Try, iPad. (Top 5 Most Important Screens of 2010)

I guess you could say I was taking a gamble by banking on an unreleased, unannounced product as being the Number 1 Most Important Screen of 2010.

I guess you could also say that I lost the gamble.

Last Wednesday, Steve Jobs and company released Apple’s newest, long-rumored product: a tablet-computer called the iPad.

It's called the iPad? Unfortunately. One of the other speculated names Apple was considering, and a far better choice in my opinion, was iSlate. But some feared "Slate" would sound too ancient and heavy for such a modern, lightweight device.

So what is it?

Well… It’s a giant iPhone.

More accurately, it’s a cross between an iPhone and a laptop. If you really don’t know anything about the product, I’ll let Apple sell it to you themselves. Head over to the iPad site for details, videos, and demonstrations. In the mean time, I’m going to try and keep this as brief as possible.

The iPad is certainly a slick little device. And it’s almost affordable. The bare bones version, with no 3G and only 16 GB of memory goes for $499. Another way of saying this is: It’s over 800 dollars if you want 3G Wireless, and 64 GB of memory. As a point of reference- my iPod Classic, which is at least a year old and was not even the biggest model when i got it, has 120 GB of memory.

The revolutionary Apple iPad is… not revolutionary. The iPhone was revolutionary. And it was my thinking, along with a lot of other bloggers, consumers, and tech-enthusiasts, that Apple was going to be presenting something really groundbreaking here, something that would make the iPad not just a neat gadget, but a state-of-the-art must have.

It’s got some cool features, and I’m sure some of the new apps that people will develop will be truly revolutionary. Will it work as an e-reader? Sure I can hold it in my hands, but it’s not going to be any easier on my eyes than a computer screen would be. It doesn’t have the easy-looking effect that the Kindle does.

And I’m not crazy about the fact that the the only Apps you can run are through Apple’s App store. That made sense with the iPhone. After all, it was a phone. This is a computer. And make no mistake, the third-party software’s availability is controlled entirely by Apple. Anyone familiar with Apple turning down the free, game-changing Google Voice App for the iPhone can see the danger here. Any App, no matter who developed it or what it does, can be rejected by Apple for any reason, or for no reason.

So what do I do, here? I’m excited by the iPad, but at the same time, I am quite underwhelmed. I would have been happy to give the iPad almost any spot on my silly little Top 5 Most Important Screens of 2010 list.

Except the number one spot.

Might the iPad signify a shift in computing? Yes. Tablet computing very well could be the way of the future. It makes perfect sense to me. And if any existing product is going to kick-start the tablet-computing craze, the iPad would be it.

But what is the iPad really going to do for you and your business that a laptop couldn’t do? The iPhone introduced a slew of features that the mobile phone world had never known. The iPad does not provide anything comparable.

It is cool. Really cool, even. But not much else. So…

Sorry, Apple. Maybe next time.

Until further notice, this countdown will remain in limbo. As I said, if I had started knowing what I know now, I would have happily gave the iPad a spot on the Top 5. And it still might earn a number one spot. I’d love to see how people wind up using the iPad, and what sort of Apps are developed for it that can truly make a difference in the computing world.

In the mean time, let’s get back to some stories that really scream, “Why Didn’t I Think of That?” Because hey, that’s what we’re about here.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to yell at me in the comments.


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