First iPad reviews are in!


TiPb has done the full iPad review, of course, but while we're iPhone, iPod touch, and now iPad-centric, there are a lot of more general technology columnists and gadget bloggers out there who've gone touch-to-screen with Apple latest mobile device, and different perspectives are decidedly a good thing. So here's a roundup of what they think:

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal says it's "pretty close" to a laptop killer. He also got 11:28 of battery time on it!

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. It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades.

David Pogue of the New York Times actually writes two reviews, one for the more tech-centric critics and one for the more positively inclined mainstream.

The techie review is decidedly negative:

The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money — with a full keyboard, DVD drive, U.S.B. jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works. Besides: If you’ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, who’s going to carry around a third machine?

The mainstream review is more positive:

The iPad is so fast and light, the multitouch screen so bright and responsive, the software so easy to navigate, that it really does qualify as a new category of gadget. Some have suggested that it might make a good goof-proof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they’re absolutely right.

Ed Baig of USA Today says it's a winner.

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. 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.

Andy Ihnatko of the Chicago Sun Times says the iPad is pure innovation and one of the best computers ever.

The most compelling sign that Apple got this right is the fact that despite the novelty of the iPad, the excitement slips away after about ten seconds and you’re completely focused on the task at hand ... whether it’s reading a book, writing a report, or working on clearing your Inbox. Second most compelling: in situation after situation, I find that the iPad is the best computer in my household and office menagerie. It’s not a replacement for my notebook, mind you. It feels more as if the iPad is filling a gap that’s existed for quite some time.

Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus of the Houston Chronicle says the iPad is better than expected.

It turns out the iPad isn't as much a laptop replacement as I thought (though it could easily be used as one). Instead, it's an entirely new category of mobile device. For example, now when I want to surf the Web from the couch or back deck, the iPad is the device I choose. Starbucks? Same thing. Think of the iPad as a new arrow in your technology quiver, an arrow that will often be the best tool for a given task.

Tim Gideon of PCMag says the iPad just makes sense.

When you combine basic-but-essential work tools with iWork, an improved browser, e-mail, iPod, and photo applications, a well-executed e-Book platform with iBooks, and throw in thousands of downloadable apps and games, and package it all in a gorgeous, slim slate with a beautiful 9.7-inch touch screen, you have yourself a winner.

Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing says the iPad is a touch of genius.

Flick the switch and the novelty hits. Just as the iPhone, Palm Pré and Android phones scratched an itch we didn't know we had, somewhere between cellphone and notebook, the iPad hits a completely new pleasure spot. The display is large enough to make the experience of apps and games on smaller screens stale. Typography is crisp, images gem-like, and the speed brisk thanks to Apple's A4 chip and solid state storage. As I browse early release iPad apps, web pages, and flip through the iBook store and books, the thought hits that this is a greater leap into a new user experience than the sum of its parts suggests.

Joshua Topolsky of Engadget says, like Mau'dib of Dune, the iPad's name is a killing word:

more than a product -- it's a statement, an idea, and potentially a prime mover in the world of consumer electronics. [...] The buyer of an iPad is one of two people, the first is someone who sees not just the present, but the potential of a product like the iPad... and believes in and is excited about that potential. This is also a person who can afford what amounts to a luxury item. The second is an individual who simply doesn't need to get that much work done, and would prefer their computing experience to be easier, faster, and simpler.

Vincent Nguyen of SlashGear thinks it has the same mix of wonder and frustration as past Apple 1.0 devices:

Yes, there is a sense that in the process they’ve simply left out anything they couldn’t polish to the same standard – whether it is Flash, multitasking or a webcam. This is a first generation device, though; look how long it’s taken Apple to deliver on some of the more common phone functionality in their three-generation-old mobile platform. You might not like the way they do it – holding off until the user experience, the market, or the combination of both is right – but millions of happy iPhone owners are evidence that there’s certainly an audience for it.

Matt Miller of ZDNET (and sibling-site Nokia Experts) thinks the hardware is rock-solid but hopes it gets a multitasking software update soon (us too, Matt!)

After several hours of usage, I have to say I am very pleased that I made the purchase. The hardware is better than I thought it would be, developers didn’t just make apps bigger to fit the screen, the battery life reported by everyone has been at least 10 hours, there is more media content than I thought we would see right at launch (Netflix, ABC Player, MLB At Bat), and apps are rolling out fast. With my Palm Pre Plus and free WiFi Hotspot service I think the iPad will actually fill a role in my life as a daily train commuter and heavy web surfer.

So, did any of these reviews change your mind? Did any of them convince you to get an iPad... or convince you not to?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

First iPad reviews are in!


Well, now I feel like I should just leave my 1st gen iPad in the box when it arrives on Saturday. Who knows what it will be worth 20 years from now in pristine condition?

I still really like it, but still gonna wait until the 32gb wifi model drops down to $499....16gb is too little storage for a device that wants to replace a netbook.
But good job to Apple all the same.

I'm not convinced yet. Although I've stood in lines for all 3 iPhones. This one won't come so fast. I would just like it to do a little more. Hp is filling the gap I need filled with their slate. But the price just isn't there. Something the size of the iPad with the usability of a laptop

are you guy such sheep that you dont realize how much of a rip the ipad is look a the prices of a netbook with a 120gb hd around 300 ad youre willing to pay almost double that for less and a smaller screen just because it has an apple logo

I can see future updates having what I want (Flash/multitasking) I'll wait for a 2.0 or 3.0 verision. Heck I didn't even get an iPod until the 5tb generation.

No multi-tasking? When will Apple learn? Are we suckers?
I have given up the idea of buying this. Will stick to my Dell laptop.

Apple is taking us for a nice ride. Well, if someone enjoys the ride so be it! No ethics- make the customer spend more with each upgrade. Business sans ethics is highway robbery.

How is iWork touch going to replace MS Office for some serious business work? Even if u save as MS Office format, it does not open properly in Office.
The only gap I see this thing filling is sitting-on-the-toilet-bored moments. Even then the iPhone is doing well enough there lol

Are some of you just sheep and follow the heard to hate Apple products? Who wants you to give up your netbooks, the ipad is the perfect coffee table machine. Easy touch screen while slumped back watching the tube or laying in bed. The ipad is just a new improved way to deliver certian media with ease and style. It's not a geek machine yet, until it's jailbroke.

It looks fun, but I already had to pay for a good laptop and an iPhone. Everyone keeps saying it's a new product, not a netbook or laptop killer, but I have to have those to work. Not everyone has an extra $500 to waste on something that what, saves me having to open a lid, keeps me from having to turn on the tv? When there are apps that give real unique usage cases to this, I'll look again, until then, the gear I have covers every use case the iPad has put forward.

Although I realize the price difference, I don't mind paying extra - once - for the unequaled quality that comes with that apple logo. I personally have gone through over a dozen PC 'type' machines in over 25 years, and spent tens of thousands on them, and I have yet to see one that just works, and is intuitive, and that I would keep, like apple. I can't see ever getting rid of a working apple device unless I'm selling it to upgrade... The PCs? Even the trash guy doesn't want the old ones! The ipad I know I will use until it wears out. A netbook I'm sure would be in the trash can in 2 years, just like all the rest of the PC and unbrand crap. And it took me 22 years to figure that out and come around.

I guess it all depends on what you really need it for. For me, what kind of music recording apps, and can I make it a serious studio? I agree with other comments. I will wait for the price to come down for the higher memory.

I have owned all 3 iPhones. I have a desktop and a netbook. even as shiney and pretty as the ipad looks I just can convince my self that it worth my hard earned money to buy it. Maybe after a couple of versions drop and more features are added. Plus if I bought this I wouldn't be able to grab the iPhone 4.0

This device is not supposed to replace netbooks. Netbooks are NOT fun. This will be, and stunning as well when I'm on the plane and watching my own tv show I just downloaded or sync then doing a gazillion other things with it if I want with so many different apps. Just YouTube HD alone gives you endless entertainment. Netbook screens are no where near as crisp as the iPad.
This won't be for everybody, but it sure is for me! I own only a laptop and a work laptop that is somewhat personal as well mainly because it's recently upgraded to modern specs. I was still pondering over a 13inch macbook pro for about a year. This was a no brainer and a great consolation prize for me!!

I can understand why some people would get the iPad. Given the choice between an iPad and a netbook, I'd pick the iPad any day. For me ease of use is key. And this is where the iPad trumps any netbook. However I've got an iPhone and a Macbook Pro, so I have no need whatsoever for an iPad. For some people though, it might be the perfect fit.

I find it interesting that all of the reviewers who got early devices fall over themselves with praise....wink wink nudge nudge......
OK Conspiracy theories aside. :)
It looks like this is the ultimate consumption device for individuals and maybe a stand in for when you might need to be productive on the fly. Yes is a big iPod touch. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I feel like this is released too early. It seems to me (at least I'm hoping) that this os they have on it is just filler until iPhone 4.0 comes out. I mean really the only thing keeping it from being a mainstream device is the lack of multitasking and flash. Since these are the only issues I have with the iPhone (mainly the flash part), hopefully this will be rectified on both devices soon.

4th Gen iPhone!!!!!! I do want the ipad, but I think I will play with one in the Apple Store first, I'm really looking forward to iPhone 4.0. Hurry up Apple.

I think the real value of the iPad will be realized as more and more software apps move to the cloud. For example, if would just allow me to enter future transactions, the iPad would suffice for 99% of my day-to-day computing needs.

Won't take long for Google to copy the iPad just like they copied the iPhone with Android. Yeah Google sucks bigtime. I no longer use any of the fracking junk software!

Im a photographer and this will be a great device for me. Espically when I am showing clients examples of my work. I think the device alone will seal the deal for me. I can't wait to get one. (Not that i'm getting one saturday. I'm broke.) lol

I just can't wait to hold one and get my hands on one. The thought of holding one of these things makes me shake :P

I'm thinking of playing with it when we get the table models at work (Best Buy). I'm still not getting enticed enough. I'm more interested in the Courier concept. Pure beauty.
Will be nice to see how this plays out with the adoption.
@dantv how is Android like iPhone. I honestly have not seen a legitimate answer to this...and I don't mean underlying architecture and operations. Purely just UI and OS is ot copying. And the Chrome tablet concept had been shown already. By Google teaming with Adobe, they already distinguish themselves from the iPad.

I've got a netbook currently. It sucks. I can't even be bothered to wait for it to boot up most of the time. The iPad is what we will all soon realise we've been waiting for. I'm itching to have a go!

It sounds like the iPad is a well-made, attractive device that wows critics. But, as an Apple product, that's to be expected. What no one has yet convinced me of is the need for an iPad. Maybe five years from now I'll look back on my present attitude and wonder how I could have ever been so naive, but as of today I'm just not seeing it, folks.

It doesn't matter how well made it is. In general I like Apple, I have an iTouch and a MacBook Pro, but I hear more and more people talking about using the iPad to do their email or blog. Continued small impacts on the finger joints like typing on a hard surface are one of the primary causes of RSI. There's a very good reason why computer keyboards are sprung or have some kind of membrane, it's to cushion the impact. The iPad is a nice new toy but it should be shunned as far as doing any work goes.

I think it looks like fun to play with. As one of the reviewers put it "it is not so much for creating content as it is for consuming it."
I know there are some drawbacks..but who cares? I don't need the camera as I don't video chat and have a DSLR camera. Flash, ok. Well, there are some sites I would like to see...but whatever.
For this price it will be a fun toy for my family. In fact, we bought two.
I can't wait until tomorrow.

Why does everyone keep wondering about the NEED for the ipad? There is no need! No one needs an iPod or iPhone or even MacBook. The ipad, more than any other apple product, is a luxury device. There are plenty of cheaper and more feature filled alternatives in the field of mobile computing. The ipad is for those who want and can afford the pleasure of using what it offers. It's not meant to fill a need. It's just another (pretty cool) option.