Are consumers ready to embrace the iPad?

Last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled their latest creation: the iPad. With laptops and smart phones belonging to so many people these days, Apple managed to develop a third device that fits neatly in between the two.  Available in both Wi-Fi and 3G, the iPad includes features such as Safari, mail, photos, movies, iPod, iTunes, iBooks and several more.

Although the iPad does include many useful and fun features, it is also missing a few that some people consider a weak point for the product. It does not have simple features like phone capabilities, a camera or even a USB port. But Apple usually knows what they’re doing. Is the iPad intended for just a very specific audience? Is it geared toward people who may not be very “computer savvy” but still want to enjoy the perks of being linked in? Or was this new device created for the people who hate multitasking?

Another issue that many people have with this new product is its name: iPad. Many people online are comparing the name to feminine hygiene products. Not a flattering start for Apple’s latest venture.

But while there is much speculation and buzz on the internet surrounding the iPad, The New York Times’ David Pogue has an interesting take on consumer criticism of Apple products. He has a theory that all Apple products are put through the same cycle of phases, beginning with pre-announcement speculation and hype, to online bashing, to buyers giving it positive reviews and eventually everyone falling in love with it.

Aside from the jokes about the name and the criticism over the features not available, there was some initial controversy surrounding the iPad regarding Adobe Flash. Apparently the demo video that was originally posted on Apple’s web site to promote the iPad showed web pages, specifically The New York Times, working as though the device were supported by Flash, which was incorrect. This raised suspicion because during the first iPad demonstration, when Jobs pulled up a NY Times page, a “broken plug-in” icon appeared because it needed Adobe Flash to display properly. So when the demo on Apple’s web site showed the web pages working perfectly, people began to ask questions. It became evident that The NY Times’ web pages were duplicates of the real pages, supposedly generated by The NY Times for Apple. But thanks to the internet’s capability of spreading news such as this like wildfire, Apple has now corrected the promo video, replacing it with a more accurate version.

As with each new product entering the market, there will be criticism and controversy, as well as enthusiasm and excitement. Most likely, this device isn’t meant for everyone, but instead it is probably intended for a niche audience that wants exactly what the iPad offers. It is expected to become available by early April, and during the next couple months, much more will be said about the product. To read what people are saying now, check out the Twitter feed.


 Nicole Doherty

Stephanie Saulsbury