The times they are iChanging

By Andy Serwer, managing editor


(Fortune) -- "There's a revolution coming," I said to my two teenage daughters a couple months ago. Say what Dad? It was early February and I had just gotten my hands on an iPad. After playing with it for an hour or so, my response was pretty simple: I want one. "Not until April 3rd," the man told me. Well OK, what's a few weeks -- when you're waiting for the future.

You're probably seeing a lot of write-ups about the iPad right now, which is just the way Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) likes it. Given that fact, I think that journos often feel compelled to say something nasty or snarky about this new device: "It doesn't have this," or "It can't do that," or my personal favorite, "It's, it's, it's so...NEW. I mean there's nothing like it!" (Oh heavens...)

All I can really tell you is what my impressions are. Which is to say, I like the iPad a lot. And I can see exactly where and how this puppy is going to be used. As in, all the time, and anywhere you want to know something. That makes the iPad the first truly portable really cool Web device. (Hang on Charlotte, I think we have some serious value here.)

Sure the iPhone and iPod touch are portable web devices, but there's just one problem with them. (Well actually two, if you count network speed, an issue that MUST be addressed.) But the really big problem is that theses devices are too small. It literally is a pain to use them, whether tapping out emails or watching video. Frankly it is a strain. Those issues are non-existent with the iPad. Big is beautiful baby!

What's so great about the iPad? Well the resolution and screen quality for starts, which are fantastic. But the real killers here are the great user experience -- "Immersion" is the word of the week, and this is a fully immersive device -- and Apple's online stores. Though its brick and mortar stores are pretty much spot on too, Apple's iTunes and app store have now become comprehensive content malls. Music, video, TV shows, movies, games, books, magazines, newspapers. It's just like ... well, nothing! And trust me, "like nothing else" is a pretty powerful business model.

There are downsides: You will find that the iPad really too heavy to hold up while using, unlike a Kindle. (But, um, I kind of think the Kindle is in deep doo doo right about now.) But solving that problem is easy: Most people will put the iPad in their lap or they'll use the Apple-designed iPad cover that with one flip of the lid turns into a stand.

So will the iPad address the, "Gosh I can't wait until I finally have just one device" issue? No it won't. As has been pointed out ad nauseum, there's all kinds of stuff the 'Pad doesn't do. But who cares? You want to make a phone call, buy a phone. And by the way, I think that one device thing is never going to happen anyway. Purely Dick Tracy stuff.

Finally, when you get one of these babies -- and believe me, you or someone in your family will, between now and January 1 (can you say "huge Christmas") --please understand that this is iPad 1.0. The first version. The next iterations are going to be orders of magnitude better. Remember what the first iPod looked like? Actually you probably don't. That's history, almost ancient history, and we are now talking about the future. Got that kids? To top of page

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