As we're mentioned, Steve Jobs is (for all his merits) a sucker for the ol' hyperbole. And today's iPad launch was no exception, as Apple declared their new toy to be "revolutionary."
It's not the first tablet computer, much less the first with an optional external QWERTY keyboard. Less than a month ago, various CES vendors were showing off laptops that morphed into tablets, or tablet/keyboard combos. Revolutionary would have been a way to enter data on the iPad that negated the need for an external keyboard entirely.
It's certainly not the first e-book reader. (In all fairness, neither was the Kindle: that was just the first reader that got pretty much everything right.)
Some of the things it has (the new iLife, f'rinstance) are kinda neat, but they're offset by all the stuff it DOESN'T have, which is sizable enough that we'll need a whole separate article to catalog.
And here's the dealbreaker: it's not a replacement for conventional computers. Let's say you've got a relative who's not particularly computer-savvy — they can do some email, web surfing, nothing too intensive — and their PC's ready for the scrap heap. You might think "Hey, I can give 'em this whiz-bang, easy-to-use device as a replacement!" Wrong. Just like the iPod it's based on, you still have to physically sync it to a "real" computer for app/media management and back-ups. Right now, there's no "cloud" in the iPad's forecast. Said relative would be better off with a cheapo netbook (which we hate, by the way, but it would still serve them better than the iPad).
So what did we like, and consider truly revolutionary? Well, the 3G pricing — and the fact that you can get it without being locked into a contract. And the starting price of around US$500.00 for a 16 GB, Wi-Fi-ready iPad is certainly competitive.
We resent the iPad being called "revolutionary" in the same way that — believe it or not — we resent the Nexus One being dubbed a "Super Phone." Yeah, we liked our week of using nothing but a Nexus, and it's got some neat features and a killer OS. But there's still a lot about it we didn't like.
Mind you, we'll continue to cover the iPad's progress as it creeps towards the marketplace, and who knows? The damn thing might actually grow on us.
But we're not betting on it. Apple may be, but we're not.