This morning, the fool's parade gets started. Apple is taking online "pre-orders" for its iPad tablet, which is supposed to begin shipping on April 3. Buying a new kind of product sight unseen is foolish. Especially given how mysterious Apple has been on what the iPad can do and what restrictions on capabilities and media access it will place on users and content providers.
Why blow $500 to $830 on a device that may not be what you expect? Just wait a mere three weeks to see for sure what it actually does and what surprises, good and bad, Apple has packed into the iPad.
Don't get me wrong: The iPad concept is promising in many ways. And I have no doubt that the iPad will appeal to many people even if it's not perfect. But we've all seen promising product demonstrations that resulted in major letdown when we finally got a hold of the real thing. Why take that chance? After all, the first-generation iPad is particularly likely to have disappointments, as it's the version that will tell us what, after the hoopla dies down, Apple should have done.
Sure, we can expect Apple to make future innovations in the iPhone OS (which the iPad uses) available to the first generation of iPad devices through OS upgrades -- as Apple has nicely done for iPhone and iPod Touch owners. But the iPad's hardware isn't upgradable, so you'll be stuck with the iPad's relatively low amounts of memory and its lack of connectors such as USB that I would expect Apple to remedy inthe future. And you'll be stuck with whatever iTunes-based content locks Apple decides to place on media content and e-books.