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Apple CEO Steve Jobs trotted out on stage in San Francisco today, promising “a truly magical and revolutionary” new product.
He didn’t deliver.
The Apple iPad, unveiled today, met base-level expectations — it’s a big iPhone. And to Apple’s credit, it’s cheaper than we thought, which will drive adoption.
But Steve didn’t show off any must-have features or applications. And after seeing the iPad, we’re not nearly as impressed as we were after Jobs unveiled the iPhone three years ago.
So what is the iPad? As expected, a big iPhone that can run iPhone apps, iPad apps, iTunes media, iBook books, and the Web. It starts at $499 and goes up to $829 — cheaper than the $1,000+ prices we had feared.
At this price and feature set, it will compete with netbooks from the likes of Acer and Dell, perhaps with the Amazon Kindle and other e-readers, and low-end MacBooks. Some will make this their next laptop, while others will buy this as a third type of device. We’ll probably buy this, because we’re gadget nerds.
But in the end, Jobs introduced something that is probably going to sell in the range of a few million units this year, much closer to one of the company’s Macs than its runaway hits like the iPod and iPhone. Not the company’s next huge growth story. Not now, anyway.
Apple fans hoping for the next revolution — or investors hoping for the company’s next iPhone — should be disappointed.
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