6:46:21 PM

Is the iPad really worth all the hype?

I’m writing this post on my MacBook Pro, with iTunes playing a new album I downloaded. My iPod is charging nearby and I am secretly jealous of my friends who own iPhones.

I’m a Mac. Maybe you’re a PC, I find most people are. But whether you’re a Mac or a PC you’ve seen the rumors, reports, excitement and finally the announcement of the iPad – the tablet that is supposed to be game-changing. The whole world tuned in yesterday for Steve Jobs big iPad reveal.

Here are the basics: The iPad is going to be so much more than the Kindle or other e-readers. Of course it offers books and newspapers, to be downloaded through the iTunes store. But the iPad also has e-mail and internet capabilities. It will play music and video; and offers a full array of random and sometimes utterly pointless applications. Basically, it’s a large iPhone that can’t make phone calls. It retails for $499.

Most of the reviews that are rolling in find the iPad is an amazing piece of technology, but not necessarily a tool that is going to dramatically alter the publishing industry. To me, this begs the question… then what’s all the hype about? People are already putting their names down to be the first to own an iPad and eagerly awaiting the March release date.

Don’t get me wrong. I spent a good portion of yesterday reading the reviews watching the videos and nearly drooling over the iPad. (I’m a Mac, remember?) But in the light of the following morning I see the iPad as just one more thing I’m being told I need; one more way to tap that materialistic itch we all have.

After all if my blackberry and computer fulfill all those functions already what will the iPad provide me to simplify life or help me do my job better? How will it help me connect more with people? Be a better writer? A better friend? A better daughter? Might it be just one more item to carry around; one more thing to load into my already over-stuffed purse?

Plus reviewers are already complaining about the fact that you can’t run more than one application at a time and the memory is small, smaller even than some iPods. This first version is basically a test. In six months or a year, the iPad will have new functionality and more memory. It will be a completely different piece of equipment. And while Apple products tend to have a long shelf-life and are not easily overtaken by the competition, who’s to say that in a year there won’t be another new amazing must-have product?

What do you think? Is the iPad worthy of all the hype? Is it the next must-have, life-changing technology?

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