I present, for your approval, the iPad.

images from Engadget's coverage of the live Apple press event

After a giant amount of hype, of which I admittedly was swept up in, Steve Jobs climbed the stage and rolled out Apple’s ‘3rd group’ of products, designed to fall in between the iPhone and a Macbook:

1.5" thick, 1.6 lbs, 9.7" screen

The iPad. Apple’s answer to a Netbook. Let’s look at its features:

1. Touch screen.
2. Virtual Full-Size QWERTY keyboard
3. HD capable
4. 802.11n Wireless
5. Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
6. 3G-capable (for an extra $130) and a non-contract $30/mo via AT&T
7. Speaker
8. Microphone
9. Same connector as iPhone/iPod
10. Jack for headsets
11. Runs any pre-existing iphone/ipod app with no modification
12. Can double-pixel existing apps to fill screen.
13. New apps look snazzy
14. Uses an in-house processor chip. Looks very fast.
15. 16/32/64 GB models
16. 10 hour battery life, over 1 month in standby.
17. All 3G-enabled iPads are unlocked, meaning you could theoretically go with another carrier.
18. Starts at $499 for the 16GB wi-fi only version.

And it has an ingenious bookshelf for your ebooks, too.

That’s a lot to take in. It’s got some great aesthetics, but let’s also look at what is NOT confirmed/what is missing:

1. No camera on front or back. This is a huge missed opportunity. This could have been the tablet for easy videoconferencing with anyone, anywhere.

2. No ability to make phone calls. I’m pretty sure you could skype since it has a speaker/headset and a mic, but you can’t just drop your iPhone simcard into it (it uses a newer version of simcard) unless they make some kind of adapter.

3. No flash. I’m talking the web software. Yeah, I know you don’t like it, Steve. You think it bogs down processors. I got it. But the point is half the online videos I watch from various websites use it. Give me the choice to turn it off in the future when HTML 5.0 hits; but till then stop restricting my web use. That’s what this darned thing is for, isn’t it?

4. No multitasking. Really. This relegates the device down from ‘super-thin, sexy lesser macbook’ to ‘oversized-iPhone.’ Do they really believe that noone wants to stream Pandora while they read an ebook?

5. The lightness. I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but the iPad looks to weigh twice as much as the kindle from Amazon. 1.5 lbs is not a laughing matter for extended reads. You’re going to have to set it down.

6. HDMI output. It can do HD, why can’t we output with it? Seems like a no-brainer.

7. Other carrier support. I was ready to chuck my entire cell network and just go skype-only if they announced a Verizon deal. But lo and behold, they stuck with AT&T; meaning the network that complains and charges iPhone users for… you know, using their iPhones; yes, well they get rewarded with a deal that seems like it will only put more strain on their already creaking 3G network.

So, although I was caught up in the hype of it all, as I thought more and more on it, I find this falling squarely into the ‘Want’ category and not the ‘Need’ category. Until they bring more of the list above, even as a patented early adopter and Apple fanatic, I’m going to sit this dance out. I bit on the Newton, which cost quite a bit more. I think until we see the second or third gen of this device, I’ll be tabletless for a time more. I’m just not at frothing level anymore. And for me, that’s a very odd proposition, indeed.

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