iPad Hype Hangover Follows Buzz Binge

The glow is starting to fade a bit following Apple’s splashy unveiling of its still-to-be-shipped iPad tablet. CEO Steve Jobs took the wraps off the highly anticipated device at an event that lit up the twittersphere, blogosphere and innumerable Web sites that reported it both as breaking news and with live-blogging accounts.

Many of those initial accounts raved about the sleek form factor, the low cost of the data plan and $499 price point, access to virtually all of the iPhone apps, etc. But that was yesterday.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) appears to be keeping a tight hold on the hardware for now with nary an early hands-on review to be found except for those who had a bit of time to play with the iPad at the event. That said, based on the announcement and release of the specs, there’s been no lack of criticism tarring the debut as the “iFail” and “iDisappointment.” Here’s a selection of some of the more pointed observations.

In a post titled “8 Things That Suck About the iPad,” Gizmodo said the device had “… backbreaking failures that will make buying one the last thing I would want to do … If this is supposed to be a replacement for netbooks, how can it possibly not have multitasking? Are you saying I can’t listen to Pandora while writing a document?”

Numerous other posts also slammed the lack of multitasking, which may already be the most popular iPad critique, if not the device’s lack of support for Adobe’s Flash.

Joe Wilcox at betanews said he couldn’t keep his complaints to his preferred list of 10 in his “12 reasons why I won’t buy an Apple iPad.” Developers might take particular note of his No. 12:

“Apple has brought back the onerous developer non-disclosure agreement. Apple had lifted NDAs for App Store, but they’re b-a-a-a-ck! At a time when Google and Nokia are pushing open source operating systems and mobile applications stacks, Apple’s approach ranks of last-century software development practices.”

Blogger Tim Lee, an admitted “Apple fan-boy,” slammed the company’s media strategy in his “The case against the iPad” post:

“Apple seems determined to replicate the 20th century business model of paying for copies of content in an age where those copies have a marginal cost of zero. Analysts often point to the strategy as a success, but I think this is a misreading of the last decade. The parts of the iTunes store that have had the most success — music and apps — are tied to devices that are strong products in their own right. Recall that the iPod was introduced 18 months before the iTunes Store, and that the iPhone had no app store for its first year. In contrast, the Apple TV, which is basically limited to only playing content purchased from the iTunes Store, has been a conspicuous failure.”

Over at T-Break Tech, writer Abbas Jaffar Ali ended his long list of criticisms concluding, “I still believe in Apple. And at $500, I will probably end up getting one.” That said, he found plenty of things wrong in his “iDisappointed in the iPad” column, including:

“…the lack on a front face camera totally destroys the chances of me video chatting with my kids at home while I’m on a business trip. Lastly, the screen resolution of 1024×768 (786.5k pixels) is just shy of 720p HD capability of 1280×720 (921.5k pixels). That means that you’re going to have to re-encode all your movies separately for your iMac, your AppleTV, your iPad and your iPhone — not very Apple-like.”

Finally, well-known Apple fan and New York Times tech columnist David Pogue is one of the last folks you’d expect to find on a list criticizing an Apple product. In fact he had mostly positive things to say in his “First Impressions” blog, including:

“The iPad as an e-book reader is a no-brainer. It’s just infinitely better-looking and more responsive than the Kindle, not to mention it has color and doesn’t require external illumination.” And : “Overall, the iPad seems like a dream screen for reading and watching — at some loss of convenience in creating.”

But he did have some strong criticism, not of the device, but of the growing chorus of iPad complaints:

“… hyperventilating is not yet the appropriate reaction,” said Pogue.

“At the same time, the bashers should be careful, too. As we enter Phase 2, remember how silly you all looked when you all predicted the iPhone’s demise in that period before it went on sale.

“Like the iPhone, the iPad is really a vessel, a tool, a 1.5-pound sack of potential. It may become many things. It may change an industry or two, or it may not. It may introduce a new category — something between phone and laptop — or it may not. And anyone who claims to know what will happen will wind up looking like a fool.”

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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