Apple's iPad: Was it magical for you, too?

Is the iPad truly a game-changing device, or just more Apple hype? Both, say the residents of Cringeville

Has the Apple iPad changed your life? I know it has mine. Not that I own one ... yet. It's just that I cannot seem to avoid reading about how "magical" and "revolutionary" it is.

It hasn't been quite a week since the Wonder Tablet landed, and the buzz is still buzzing. Nearly half a million people have taken the iPad challenge, according to Apple, including several residents of Cringeville who were kind enough to write in and tell me about their experiences. Naturally, they fall into two camps: pro and con.

[ How does the iPad stack up now that it is real? Find out in Paul Venezia's first look review of the iPad. | Take InfoWorld's tour of alternative iPhone app SDKs. ]

Because I'm cranky and negative by nature, let's start with the anti-iPad crowd. Reader R. S. M. writes, "Out of 1,000,000 toys that I could buy with $500, I found the iPad was right at 999,998." Leading to the obvious question: What's on his list at 999,999? (I'm betting it's the JooJoo tablet.) He adds:

That AT&T is the carrier bodes ill for use unless it is open, at least in the region I live, so your experience may vary. Here 50% or more of all AT&T phone calls are dropped in good weather. For three months of the year 60% or more are dropped. Verizon is only slightly better.

Another reader firmly in the No Camp is reader C. S.  She says, "iPad? No way":

Why would I need one? It's not a phone, it doesn't support Flash, and doesn't support USB storage.  Awkward keyboard to learn.  No thanks.  It will be a fancy paper weight one of these days.  Hat's off to Apple, tho, for another successful hype campaign to whip up the masses into a lather.

Now for a word from the iPad fans in the audience. Cringester J. P., who says he's CIO in an all-Windows shop, pre-ordered his iPad in March and plans to upgrade to the 3G version when it comes out in a month or so. He writes:

The iPad doesn't replace my notebook PC, but I do see it as being my go-to device around the house and during meetings and I most likely will carry it on vacations rather than my netbook.  It does what I need it to do.  It does it FAST and reliably.

I find the form to be very handy for "media consumption" and casual web browsing ... more so than a notebook.  I am so sick of wasting half of my life waiting for Windows to do something that I find this nimble little piece of glass and aluminum to be very refreshing.  I turn it on and it is on.  I flip a page and it flips.  What a concept.

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