The reaction to Apple's announcement of the iPad on Wednesday has been both passionate and mixed. Many have shrugged at what appears to be a big iPod Touch they can't easily carry around. "I’d get better value in buying an iPod Touch and a magnifying glass," says Kory Salsbury, a tech support specialist at Web publisher IDG. Others, including Gene Munster of the Piper Jaffray investment bank and myself, see it as the first step toward a platform that makes netbooks and low-cost PCs obsolete in favor of a tablet that does both entertainment and basic business apps without all the baggage of a PC or Mac.
The suggestion that the iPad could displace the netbook has triggered a firestorm of criticism, as well as some passionate support.
[ Read the article that sparked the controversy over the iPad's potential to displace the netbook. | And read an equally impassioned takedown of the iPad by Windows expert and netbook fan Randall C. Kennedy. ]
Arguments against the iPad becoming a netbook replacement
"This is not a game-changing device -- not even close. It is a proprietary drug fix. A pure luxury play and will cater to the fools who buy into the Apple mantra," writes "zman58."
"It's simple. No [Adobe] Flash, no netbook-killer. The iPhone has managed to limp along without Flash support because it's a phone," writes "tobyfarley."
"If I'm going to carry something, I want it to do more than be a bigger iPod. This thing is the 'man bag' of tech. It will be just as popular," writes "bsjy."
"Spoken like a true Apple fanboy. ... Try to enter a bunch of data with a virtual keyboard and you will quickly go nuts. If you have to lug around a keyboard, you might as well carry a laptop," writes "saprinter."
"This view is just so off the wall, I had to read it a few times. Did we watch the same presentation? ... Comparing this to the latest Windows 7 netbook I picked up over the holidays (my third), I was just stunned at the missing functionality. No Web camera, no USB?!? No way to expand the memory (oh wait, it's Apple: You just buy the next year's model). My netbook has every app I use on my main PC. ... [The] device is interesting, the price is attractive, but [it] totally lacks any functionality to replace any of my current gear. Maybe next year," writes "MobileAdmin."
"The iPad is certainly no more convenient to carry than a netbook and sure doesn't offer the features that I need in a portable computing appliance. If I want a media player, I'll use a phone or dedicated player. I simply can't see pulling out an iPad and doing any serious work on it without a separate stand and keyboard. (And I mean serious work, like writing several pages of a report, not taking notes in a meeting or using it to view reference PDFs on a site.) The iPad will have its place, especially as a mobile extension of a laptop or desktop PC, but completely replacing netbooks and lightweight laptops? I doubt it," writes "Excalibur73."