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Walking back to my office from the Apple iPad launch and playing with the product a bit on Wednesday, someone asked me if I would buy one. That question alone (and reader responses on other pieces I've written before and since) quickly clarified the issue for me. It's funny how money accelerates an opinion. But no, I wouldn't. It's still too costly, it's still yet one more device, and it's still missing too much. It's not that the iPad is not impressive, because it is; it's that it is not impressive enough, and whether that's because it didn't meet hyped expectations or not doesn't really matter now.
I will acknowledge that I was dead wrong in claiming, as I did here, that the Apple tablet would be a more corporate-oriented device than some of Apple's previous efforts. Without a built-in video camera and phone capabilities, it makes it more difficult to go visit a customer or take an extended business trip while leaving all other devices behind. iWork sure seems like a fabulous set of tools for such a device, but it won't be a corporate standard any time soon.
Eric Zeman does an excellent job of outlining what's missing. I would include that it's also missing the important detail of how many book titles will be available, because, for now, that's just about the only extra feature it adds over the vastly-more-portable iPod Touch. If I can store and experience my photos, my music, my movies, and my books, there's a price I would pay for that. For 16GB, I don't know if that's $499, even if no other device does all of that, let alone as elegantly.
Once I get my hands on one, maybe it will change my mind. Until then, watch the video below for some demonstrations and thoughts on the new Apple iPad.
Fritz Nelson is the editorial director for InformationWeek and the Executive Producer of TechWebTV. Fritz writes about startups and established companies alike, but likes to exploit multiple forms of media into his writing.
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