By Harry McCracken | Monday, April 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm
The iPad reviews continue to roll in, and while most are extremely favorable–here are Engadget and Macworld–there are certainly voices of dissent out there. Dave Winer agrees with Cory Doctorow that it’s a toy. And Paul Thurrott, disappointed by the non-widescreen design, lack of cameras, and weight of the thing, says that folks who think the iPad is a game-changer are tools.
Is the iPad a game changer? It looks that way to me. But I already know that products don’t have to be perfect to be landmarks. The original Mac, for instance, was so short on RAM that it was barely usable for everyday tasks. The first iPhone was a 2G phone that arrived when there were plenty of good 3G phones out there. But does anyone out there want to make the case that they weren’t game-changers?
In both cases, the products’ deficiencies didn’t matter, because the things that were right–especially the software–were brilliantly right. And within a year or so, Apple followed up with upgraded versions that fixed the biggest issues.
Would a widescreen iPad with two cameras and less heft be more appealing than the machine Apple released on Saturday? You betcha. Will there be tablets from other companies with wider screens, cameras, and weight? Sure–but it’s rare that any product becomes a breakthrough via impressive specs alone.
Before Saturday, when people asked me how important the iPad was going to be, I told them to judge it not by the sum of the device that Apple released this week. iPad is a platform, and platforms are processes–so if you’re trying to figure out if iPad is a big deal, envision the one that Apple will release a year from now. Then decide.