Beliefnet
Rod Dreher

Soooo … the iPad is announced. What think ye? There’s such a hurricane of information and analysis I hardly know what to say. I’m also a minor Apple cult member — minor because though I’m not evangelical about all things Apple, I have drunk the Jobsian Kool-Aid, and basically trust Apple in all things. That said, I’m cautiously optimistic about the iPad. It sounds very cool, but I can’t see a burning need for it in my life. Then again, I saw no burning need for an iPhone in my life, and delayed getting one for over a year. Now that I have one, I am amazed by how much the little thing can do, and how useful it is — especially using the GPS/Google maps feature in a new and unfamiliar city. It may well be the case that once iPad hits the culture, it will be a complete game-changer (here’s a Slate piece speculating how it will disrupt certain industries). If it saves newspapers and media companies, Steve Jobs will one day be crowned in heaven by H.L. Mencken, who’ll get a day pass from Hell for the journey. Marion Maneker has a smart piece on Slate saying, “Settle down, this device is not going to save media.” Excerpt:

It will take a year or more for there to be enough iPads out there to make a difference. A few years more for them to be a meaningful installed base. But some time from now, perhaps when Apple has added a screen that toggles between LED and reflective mode, we’ll look back on this product launch the way we now think of the iPod’s launch nearly eight years ago!

That seems intuitively right to me. But what do I know? You know, don’t you? Tell.UPDATE: Why college students will swoon for the iPad. But Daniel Indiviglio is skeptical that there will be much of a market for this device — as opposed to the iPhone. Excerpt:

I don’t know what kind of consumer it will appeal to. Obviously Apple fanatics who can afford one will definitely want it. But that’s a relatively small segment of the population. The other consumers who it could theoretically appeal to might be PC folk who are heavy media users and love their iPhones, but also love books, Internet surfing and magazines. I happen to be a life-long PC user obsessed with my iPhone (to the point that I think my fiancé gets jealous sometimes). I also work for a magazine, am a news junky and spend countless hours online. I’m also a tech toy enthusiast. I perfectly describe that consumer. Yet, I have no intention of getting an iPad. Even if it were half the price, I wouldn’t consider it. If it doesn’t appeal to me, who will want one? A fundamental problem that I see for the iPad is that it’s really just a toy. It’s a non-essential device that consumers don’t have a serious need for. That contrasts greatly with mobile phones and laptops. In this day and age, each are essential.

UPDATE.2: Oh, this is a good one. Read on past the jump:Reader Doug asks you to compare the official iPad video (below):…to this video:

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