I've followed engadget's live blog, seen the keynote video, listened to Tom and Molly talk about it, even read others' opinions on engadget, gdgt and twitter, etc etc. I guess you could say I am pretty excited.
The tech savy(engadget, gdgt, BOL, etc) are in general underwhelmed or disappointed. Below are some of the complaints I have heard:
- No Webcam or microphone - which pretty much rules out using Skype on it, which would have been a great killer app at this form factor. I think they will add these to the iPad in the future. Update: actually, there IS a built-in microphone, so at least you can make audio calls with Skype.
- Still No Flash Support - you cannot seriously claim it has the best web browsing experience when it doesn't support Flash! Apple has not allowed Flash to run on the iPhone all this time. Now that they are doing the same with the iPad - which with it's larger screen you would think would be much better suited to run Flash apps, and add to it the fact that Flash has never ran great on Macs, it's becoming obvious that this is political. Apple wants to fight a format war with Adobe. Why would you need flash when you can buy great apps from the app store and buy TV shows and movies from iTunes? On the other hand, I can also see the concern that almost all of the flash apps out there(possibly with the exception of Flash ads) just aren't designed for the touch screen, and having users run them on the iPhone or the iPad degrades the user experience and therefore could hurt the products' reputation. Apple's PR, however, is going with: "it could rapidly drain battery life", which I think is probably in reality 3rd or 4th down on their list of concerns.
- No multiple tasks/apps/windows - this is a pretty big one: given the iPad's screen real estate, it seems artificially limiting to not allow multiple apps to be running in separate windows. I believe the iPad will eventually have this feature. How the UI will turn out will be interesting to see.
- The App Store Sucks - Apple prevents certain types of applications from entering its App Store. One example is programming language interpreters; another is any app that Apple views as overstepping their core apps' boundaries. Given that the iPad is even more of a computer than the iPhone, these limitations may become even more glaring.
- I just don't see the need - "I already have a laptop and a smartphone, there just isn't any more room for yet another device!" I think that at the moment the iPad is more exciting for developers than consumers, but that will change.