was probably the most talked about unannounced devices in the technology space over the past year, but did it live up to all of the rumors and speculation? At least a couple industry analysts who spoke with CNET after the event in San Francisco think so.
"Apple threw it down today," said Michael Gartenberg, vice president of strategy and analysis at market research firm Interpret. "They (Apple) came and did what they needed to do."
Van Baker, research vice president at technology research firm Gartner, agreed. "It's a home run. You can use it in classrooms, the living room, or anywhere else," he said.
The one part of the presentation that surprised everyone was the. Market expectations were that Apple would price the iPad somewhere between $600 and $1,000. At $499 for the base model, Apple appears more aggressive than many expected.
"Price points are aggressive, but that will bring in a lot of customers," said Gartenberg.
The iPad has a lot going for it. During his keynote today, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said it contained the company's "most advanced technology." Perhaps more importantly, the iPad uses the same ecosystem built for the iPod and iPhone.
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The iPad is able to run all of the same apps that the iPhone does. So, if you purchased apps, you can use them on the new device. That in itself will eliminate one of the biggest gripes users have about purchasing a new device.
Jobs made a point of saying that Apple already has 75 million people who know how to use the iPad because they own an iPhone or iPod Touch. That point wasn't lost on Interpret's Gartenberg.
"Apple is leveraging everything they taught consumers over the last few years," said Gartenberg. "The iPod, iTunes, multitouch, iPhone, videos, music, and the App Store are all part of this."
Apple positioned the iPad between the iPhone and a Netbook. Jobs said that "Netbooks aren't better at anything," and that Apple wanted something that was better.
While Apple may have dismissed the Netbook outright as competition, it may be a comparison consumers make when deciding which device to purchase in the future. If they do, Gartenberg doesn't hold out much hope for the Netbook.
"Netbooks will have a hard time justifying themselves in this market," he said.