Scenes from a launch

The giddy atmosphere that accompanied the "arrival" of iPad makes an interesting study. I'm not looking at the reviews per se. The best reviews will come in a few months' time when the reality distortion field dissipates and real people begin using iPad for real tasks.

31st March: embargo lifts, journalists who have a week with iPad under their belts publish their reviews. If the Apple-sphere wasn't already abuzz, it went berserk at this point.

Notably, Andy Ihnatko does an hour and a quarter interview and demo live on TWiT, complete with viewer questions. Ihnatko is convinced it's a computer, just not a computer as we understand it right now.

The FCC even joined in, publishing pictures of the gizzards, which iFixIt did a superb job dissecting (see, iPad is good for promoting biology education at least). This kept the geeks busy until release day.  iFixit also did its own, more detailed teardown on release day.

I don't know if reviewers were giddy at having the most sought-after gadget on the planet to themselves for a week, but reviews were positive to a fault. Criticisms were pretty lame. No Flash (yawn!). PC sites decried the lack of file system, USB port for extra storage or printing. Opinion was divided as to whether the screen was easier to read than Kindle in daylight. Mail still won't let you create folders, (iPhone whinge) etc. Won't charge from computer's USB (MJCP's favourite). Most of these could have been inferred from the tech specs. What did they learn from a week of ownership?

Cory Doctorow sounded a cautionary note and even he seemed to be reaching — perhaps as an over-reaction to the hype. He criticised iPad for perpetuating old and dying media business models — people can't share comic books anymore! Doctorow publishes with a major publishing company, while giving away full copies of all his books free from his web site, so I have a lot of time for him, even if I don't agree in this case.

11am the day before: the truly dedicated Robert Scoble set up a tent at the Palo Alto Apple Store — what he calls "Steve Jobs's Apple Store" — and played Pied Piper to the rest of the media, waiting for Mac luminaries like Bill Atkinson and Steve Wozniak to drop in overnight. The TWiT crew grabbed a "magical" quarter hour of Woz's time to talk about the whatchamacallit.

And the local angle. The ballad of a couple of guys from Melbourne going to New York to pick up some iPads for friends. Read how it went down on Twitter.

Share your memories of "iPad Day" on MacTheForum!

Bookmark and Share