UPDATED 18:50 EDT / JANUARY 27 2010

What You’re Not Hearing (Yet) About the #iPad

Apple iPad hands-on demonstration.

“iPad is pretty amazing — there, I said it.” – Ryan Block

The magic hour has passed, and those that have had a chance to play with the Apple Tablet have played with it and those who have their opinions out about it have started to trickle in. I’ve been in press briefings since the moment I woke up this morning, so I haven’t had a chance to jot down my (already) quite well formed thoughts on the product.

Still, I figured it’s worth pointing to those that have already said their piece, as a few of them were pretty interesting.

The iPad Was Disappointing

“Steve, Imma let you finish, but Moses had the greatest tablet announcement of all time.” – @Stwo

Robert Scoble points to the upcoming feature war between Google and Apple:

Apple’s new iPad didn’t meet expectations, either mine, or the folks who I’ve been talking with on Twitter.

If my friends who work with or for Apple and in the press hadn’t built it up as mind blowing it wouldn’t have been disappointing, but this was a case where expectations got too big and what showed up didn’t meet them. Come on, no radically new way to interact? No Flash? No full OS? No Camera? No Verizon?

image I was expecting a 10.0 and an 8.7 showed up.

So, we’ve seen how Steve Jobs is setting the trends for the industry. I can’t wait to see how Google puts together its machine to compete.

One hint? There was no talk of wireless synching between iPhone and iPad. Why not? Compare to when I got my Google Nexus One phone. I entered in my email address and all my apps magically appeared. THAT gives you a hint of how Google is going to hit at Apple.

Oh, and one other weakness Apple has? Apple is clueless about social software. Google isn’t all that great either, but it is a world ahead of Apple. So, look at Google to make some major social networking moves this year to make its ecosystem a lot more interesting to the Facebook generation.

Lead blogger Adam Frucci over at DVice was not impressed:

The iPad was supposed to be Apple’s revolutionary new product, the one that would make tablets palatable to the masses. Instead, it’s a product that falls into all the old tablet pitfalls while adding some new ones into the mix.

The iPad Will Kill the Kindle (Or Not)

"Don’t make us explain how it works." Too true.

“Definitely not enough girls working at Apple. Don’t they know the word ‘pad’ makes ice run in our veins?” – Maggie Alderson

Mashable’s Josh Catone rode the fence (“4 Reasons the Kindle is Dead, 4 Reasons It’s Not”):

“Uh-oh,” is the reaction we can imagine Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had when watching today’s unveiling of the eagerly awaited Apple iPad tablet. The new Apple device looks, at least upon first glance, like it will completely eat Amazon’s lunch. In fact, Steve Jobs even eulogized the Kindle in his unveiling.

“Amazon’s done a great job of pioneering this functionality with the Kindle. We’re going to stand on their shoulders and go a little further,” he said while unveiling the iPad’s iBook e-reader software. But is the Kindle really dead? Amazon proudly proclaimed the Kindle as the number one selling product on Amazon.com, with a huge banner on their home page today. Can it really be all over so fast?

He put together four reasons for both sides:

It Will Kill the Kindle Because:

1. iPad Starts at $499 (and the Kindle ends at $489)
2. The Kindle Just Reads Books (the iPad does a little more)
3. iBooks Looks “Sweet” (my emphasis added).
4. Kindle Lacks Color and Video

It Won’t Kill the Kindle Because:

1. E-Ink Display is Gorgeous (which is misrepresenting things – e-Ink reduces eye strain over active matrix displays).
2. Free 3G (on the Kindle, of course. Apple? Free? In any sense of the word? You must be shrooming).
3. Huge Book Selection (yeup.).
4. Crazy Battery Life (while the iPad is an “impressive” 10 hours. We’ll see).

And Then Some People Really Hated It…

image “It works pretty well and does what you expect it to. It just feels really good.” –Leo Laporte

According to Ars Technica, actual protestors showed up today to demonstrate against the iPad:

Members of the Free Software Foundation staged a small protest outside today’s Apple event in San Francisco, making the case against Apple’s use of DRM. The group’s four-foot signs were headed with the message "Entering Apple Restriction Zone" and laid out the tablet’s detriments.

If the iPad turned out to be more "laptop-like" than "phone-like," the FSF would have an even stronger objection to Apple’s tight connection between device and Apple-controlled stores (for music and apps). Such a device would extend the iPhone model beyond phones and into laptop territory—and computers in particular should remain open devices in ways that are perhaps less important on phones.

There was also the charge of hypocrisy; if Steve Jobs truly hates DRM so much and wanted it gone from iTunes Store music, why does he continue to lather it onto all video content from Apple, and why did he voluntarily add it to iPhone apps?

As the event got underway, I asked Sullivan what his protest crew was going to do next. "We might take a trip down to the Apple Store," he said, to keep spreading the word… all in the hopes of turning this golden calf into a free-range gnu.

Particularly interesting.  Most of my objections to the device were from a usability standpoint, but the FSF does raise a number of interesting points. On a meta-level, it is interesting that what we once jokingly referred to as a cult-like religious movement of Mac-heads is actually developing the trappings of actual religious movements, complete with non-ironic protestors.

What Does “Unlocked” Mean to You?

“Can’t wait to hear all the bitching from people who live in San Fran on how the 3G coverage from ATT sucks with iPad.” – @Jeffr0

When I heard Steve Jobs say that the iPad was by default unlocked, I thought that meant something. According to Rosa Golijin at Gizmodo, not so much:

We’re excited that the iPad‘s data plans won’t lock you down in a 2-year contract and that the device’s 3G modem isn’t carrier-locked. But you still won’t get 3G speeds on an iPad if you decide to use T-Mobile.

Why? The iPad‘s 3G modem supports UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz) and GSM/EDGE (850, 900,1800, 1900 MHz). T-Mobile’s 3G runs on 1700 Mhz. See the trouble? You could of course still get EDGE data service using T-Mobile, but that’s just not as great as the theoretically blazing 3G speeds, is it?

Some of you are remarking that T-Mobile also runs on 2100 MHz, but here’s what our friend and wise man Richard Baguley says:

UMTS2100 is the european version, not the US one. I don’t think they are compatible. So, the iPad would just not see the T-Mobile 3G on either frequency

Nice. Real nice.

At any rate, that’s the bulk of what I found interesting about the iPad discussion today. Expect a lot more perspectives to surface here at SiliconANGLE this evening and over the tnext day or two.

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