Don't count Nintendo president Satoru Iwata among the Apple faithful ready to snatch up an iPad as soon as it becomes available. Judging by the majority of reader comments in our news coverage earlier this week, Iwata's as unimpressed with the tablet as the rest of you.
"It was a bigger iPod touch," Iwata said. "There were no surprises for me."
Iwata, who one could argue knows a thing or two about tech trends, is equally dispassionate about the concept of 3D gaming, so it's probably safe to say you won't be seeing Super Mario jump out of your TV set anytime soon.
"I have doubts whether people will be wearing glasses to play games at home. How is that going to look to other people?," Iwata said at a Tokyo hotel.
Probably no sillier than Alec Baldwin waving around a Wii remote in this SNL sketch.
Speaking of motion controls, Iwata put to rest speculation in the Japanese media by denying rumors Nintendo is working on a DS-equipped motion sensor similar to the one used with the Wii, while adding that the company is not working on a Wii upgrade for high-definition television sets.
It doesn't matter that the newly announced Apple iPad tablet won't be available for another two months (three months for the 3G models), vendors have no intention of waiting to cash in on what's destined to be a hot selling product.
Take iLuv, for example, who on Thursday unveiled a new line of colorful cases and sleeves. For $20, the company is selling water resistant neoprene sleeves for the iPad available in a variety of colors and graphic designs, but that's not all. iLuv has whipped up an assortment of iPad products, including a line of silicone cases ($25), flexi-clear cases with dot wave patterns ($30), ultra-thin cases with Tatz graphics ($35), fabric cases, leather cases, protective films, and more. Check out their full line of iPad accessories here.
iLuv isn't the only one ready to cash in on the iPad craze. Kroo also recently announced a variety of iPad cases under the company's Melrose, Glove, Envelope, Milan, and Cube series.
As we get closer to March 27th, the day the iPad becomes available, expect to see a lot more companies come out of the woodworks toting their Apple tablet wares.
The first part of a typical Apple product launch is out of the way now. During the second leg, skeptics will grudgingly make one final attempt at understanding the device just as fanboys get better at pretending that they know pretty much everything they need to know. Both sides can now also factor in the newfangled prospect of making VoIP calls over the iPad's 3G connection when making their case.
Apple today updated the iPhone developer SDK to accommodate VoIP apps. The move was accompanied by the launch of iCall, the first and only VoIP app for the iPhone and iPod touch. The announcement leaves us with one question, though. Will the iPad support VoIP apps out of the box? There is little reason why it shouldn't.
Apple's ban on VoIP functionality riled many feathers while it lasted. The company's refusal to allow Google Voice to run natively on the iPhone wrecked its relationship with Google, which eventually launched a browser-based HTML 5 app to circumvent the ban. Ironically, VoIP functionality comes to the iPhone barely 24 hours after the launch of the web-based Google Voice app.
It is not clear how this fresh development impacts the hitherto unapproved Google Voice app, which Google claims is not a VoIP app. It uses the carrier's voice network to make phone calls and not the internet connection.
Regardless of how you feel about the newly announced iPad, it’s probably going to do a few things very well. But will it be the reading device we’ve all been waiting for? Steve Jobs pushed the iBook store in the keynote, and discussed how the Kindle pioneered ebooks. Jobs then said Apple would “stand on [Amazon’s] shoulders”. Can it work?
The obvious benefit of the iPad is that it has a color screen. There will be more options for text size, search, and even font choices. Magazines and newspapers will look nice, but reading an old fashioned book may not benefit much. The Kindle and other eReaders have a 16 level eInk display meant to be easy to read. The screen on the iPad, being a conventional LCD, may not be quite so easy on the eyes.
Content wise, the iPad may be in good shape. Out of the gate it will have content from Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Harper Collins and Hachette. It will also support the open ePub format, which is more than we can say for Amazon. This means the iPad will have access to Google Books. The Nook has ePub support also, so it’s not a total win for Apple.
Price is certainly of concern. The iPad is clocking in at $499 for the 16GB version sans 3G. That’s quite a bit more than the Kindle and Nook at $260. To get data on the go, you need to purchase an AT&T data plan for the (more expensive) iPad, whereas the Kindle and Nook come with free wireless. Granted, the iPad does much more than eBooks, but buying it primarily as a reading device may be a questionable move.
We can all start to breathe again! Apple has finally made their long awaited, highly anticipated, rumor generating product announcement. And it’s the “iPad”. Now we can move past criticizing Apple for what it might be making, and move on to criticizing Apple for what it did make.
But let’s not be so quick in our criticism. Sure, Apple fanboys will be all over the iPad, heaping it with great praise, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple got it wrong. In fact, there looks to be a lot to like in Apple’s new, little bundle of joy. It’s of reasonable size, sporting a 9.7-inch touchscreen, is a half-an-inch thick, and weights a modest 1.5 pounds. It works on the same software as the iPhone and iPod Touch--both of which have curried favor with users, and which makes the iPad immediately useable. (Developers are going to like this as well, because it won’t require much adjustment, and broadens the market potential of their products.) And it runs on an Apple designed chip, the 1GHz A4 processor, which not only provides punch, but conserves battery life.
Better yet, Apple is offering the iPad at different price-points, rather than in a take-it-or-leave-it bundle (like the Kindle). Configurations will be either Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi/3G, and offer different storage capacities: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Price for the entry-level iPad is $499, while the top-of-the-line will cost $829.
And Apple looks to have learned some lessons from the iPhone. Data services will be provided by AT&T, on a pre-paid basis. The price for a 250MB data allowance will be $14.99 a month, while unlimited use will cost $29.99 per month. Unlike the iPhone, the iPad will have a swappable GSM micro SIM card, so iPad users can easily switch carriers.
In the announcement, Apple wanted to defuse expectations a bit. The iPad isn’t going to be the ‘device of the century’ that some had speculated. Rather, Steve Jobs made it clear the iPad was a niche product, good for web surfing, email, viewing photos, listening to music, watching videos, playing games, or reading eBooks. (A big brother of the iPod Touch, if you will.) If you want something more, says Jobs, by a computer.
If there's more you want to know please join our cousins at MacLife for the iPad feeding frenzy.