It may just be a temporary thing, hardware development pipelines are long, and Steve was out of commission getting a liver transplant while the iPad was being birthed at Apple. Presumably. Hopefully. If that's not true, and this is the result of a careful gestation, then Steve is no longer the master, he has lost his touch. This thing, the iPad, is a dog.
People who think it isn't comparable to a netbook are just plain wrong. It is, in every way because there are only so many points between an iPhone/Droid/Pre et al and laptops. As Adam Frucci in Gizmodo says so eloquently, where's the camera, where are the USB ports, where is the fracking keyboard? SD drive, removable battery, hard disk, etc etc.
When netbooks first came out they flirted with all-solid-state storage. This meant a $600 unit only had 20GB of persistent storage. Made it almost totally unusable. Then they put a 160GB hard drive in the things and the price came down to $350, and they hit the sweet spot and started flying off the shelves.
Okay the fanbois say this product is for marketing people, old people, one guy even said my parents would want it. My father isn't going to use it, no matter what, and we just bought my mom an Asus, which she thinks is cute and is having just a bit of trouble with even though she's a bit of a technophobe. What they're really saying is that it's the computer for idiots. I agree. Idiots with $500 burning a hole in their pocket. Like me. I'll almost certainly buy one. But unless I'm missing something, I'll still travel with the Asus that I'm typing this review on.
Now I was wrong about the iPhone, I bought one and used it for two years, saying goodbye to my Blackberry. But I ended up saying goodbye to the iPhone for the reasons I thought I would at its roll out. It should have been a Mac. Same with the iPad. They should have come out with a netbook-style product, price and feature-comparable to the Asus products but running the Mac OS and Mac apps. Because huff and puff all you want, this baby is going to have to look good compared to the netbooks, and now it looks like testimony to hubris. Finally, Apple went too far, and the emperor is totally naked for all of us to see. Ridiculous product. Absolutely completely ridiculous.
Apple hasn't added anything new to my repetoire of computer toys in a very long time. I bought a 13 inch MacBook Pro, but it's a battery hog running the same apps as my Asus, and unreliable. It stays home when I travel. I will probably move it to NY to be my main computer here. The iPhone also stayed home. My workhorse is the Droid, and I carry the Nexus One as the admiration platform. It has the SIM that used to be in the iPhone. Fred Wilson and I agreed (we had breakfast yesterday) that it's like carrying a girlfriend in your pocket. What could be better. This is an important point. Finally Google is presenting them with a serious competitor in the lust category. No, they aren't all the way there yet, but they don't have the prison mentality for users and developers. Continuing the girlfriend analogy, who wants an uptight control freak GF when you can have a.. okay I think you probably get the idea. ">
Also I don't care about the name. We get used to bad names. No one snickers anymore when you say Microsoft, but I remember when they did. I don't care that the name is a big gaffe. But I think the product itself is a gaffe, and that matters.
Finally, my prognostication piece missed wildly. I was way too ambitious on Apple's behalf. I figured it's been so long since they shipped something wonderful that they must really have something incredible and far-reaching in the lab, and here it comes. About the only thing I got right was #9. Steve still loves to delete ports. It would have been sort of cute if he had delivered on some of the potential in this category. But given the lack of imagination and execution in this product, it's a cruel joke that illustrates that all that remains of Apple's brilliance is Apple's arrogance. The art has to be there, following Doc Searls' famous 1997 analysis. This is just a jumbo Oreo cookie. The original classic model made sense. This bloated mess is just a bloated mess.