The latest in-thing in the world of computing has gone on sale in the United States amid a whirl of publicity.
The iPad from Apple hit the shelves in more than 200 outlets around the country including the company’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, after having built up a frenzy of excitement among enthusiasts over the past months.
The device has been hyped as a cross between a laptop and a smart-phone. And though Apple has a reputation as an innovator, some were more enthusiastic than others.
One shopper said: “I got here yesterday at five o’clock in the morning, so Friday at 5am with my mum and my daughter and we just have to have an iPad. We need to be one of the first.”
But another young New Yorker countered: “They (Apple) basically see their mistakes and fix it the second time around. So I prefer to hold on, probably about an year or so.”
There is a lot riding on the iPad for Apple. Big-name rivals like Hewlett-Packard and Dell are planning their own versions this year.
Media technology expert James McQuivey said: “It doesn’t give you enough content. It doesn’t give you most of the things you want to do online — for example Hulu.com (and) Netflix — because it doesn’t support (Adobe) Flash. These are things that Apple has chosen to do that I think hamper its ability to have the impact that it really could have otherwise.”
Wall Street investors though are keen to see if the iPad will breathe new life into traditional print news media. The French daily Le Monde is one of several publications who see the potential of instant access a major advantage.