The New York Times tech writer David Pogue was among the first to get his hands on an iPad for review. He actually wrote two reviews in one — one for techies and one for non-techies.
This part, from the non-techie review, caught my eye:
And the techies are right about another thing: the iPad is not a laptop. It’s not nearly as good for creating stuff. On the other hand, it’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it — books, music, video, photos, Web, e-mail and so on. For most people, manipulating these digital materials directly by touching them is a completely new experience — and a deeply satisfying one.
Pogue also mentioned another way in which the iPad is not like a laptop; the keyboard is horrible. An external keyboard will be available, but why would you want to carry around two things instead of one?
The big question is if this will be a fundamental change in the portable computer market away from laptops and netbooks like the iPhone was a change in the phone market.
The Wall Street Journal’s Walter Mossberg, who likes the keyboard, says it depends on how you use your laptop.
If you’re mainly a Web surfer, note-taker, social-networker and emailer, and a consumer of photos, videos, books, periodicals and music—this could be for you. If you need to create or edit giant spreadsheets or long documents, or you have elaborate systems for organizing email, or need to perform video chats, the iPad isn’t going to cut it as your go-to device.
It will all depend on how people use their internet time. With young people writing less and less blogs and more and more tweets, maybe it will change the laptop industry as much as the iPhone changed the phone industry.
With all the tablet computers coming out in the next year (and the inevitable Apple upgrade in 6 months to a year that will once again anger the early adopters), it will be something interesting to track.