'iPad as netbook-killer' concept ignites controversy

Many view Apple's new tablet as just an oversized iPod with too many limits to compete with netbooks and laptops

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."

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