CNET First Look
Is the Apple iPad a Netbook-killer?Apple's iPad looks very much like a Netbook screen unhinged from the rest of its body. The question is naturally raised, is the iPad a Netbook-killer? Find out in our hands-on video.
>> I am Dan Ackerman and we are taking a look at some of the features of Apple's iPad. This time, we are going to answer the very important question, is the iPad a netbook killer. Now, of course while they were virtually unheard of just a couple of years ago, low cost, low power netbooks are among the most powerful PCs out there. After all, they kind of approximate the experience of a larger, more expensive laptop at a fraction and the size and the price. But just as we started to see netbooks on pretty much every coffee shop table or airplane seat back train, Apple's iPad comes along and it looks very much like a netbook screen just unhinged from the rest of the body. So, the question is naturally raised, is the iPad a netbook killer. Now, to pull the question back a little bit when the iPad was first announced, one of the things we really wrestled with was you know whether or not it should be considered a computer at all. By some standards, the iPad is just a keyboardless laptop, but by others, it is more like a portable media player like the iPod Touch. So, in the end we tilted more in the direction of not a computer and the fact that tipped scale was Apple's use of the walled garden iPhone operating system. The lack of you know freedom to install basic apps and plug-ins like Firefox or Flash just makes it too limited to be considered you know full- fledged computer. So, that said, where we are going to press events or trade expositions, sometimes we leave the laptop at home because if we are only going to need e-mail, maybe do some myweb surfing, maybe Twitter or Facebook, we can use our iPhone or a Palm Treo or other smartphone to get through the day because it can handle most of the shorts. So, the bigger screen more productivity apps like the iWork Suite and even an optional wireless keyboard, can we finally ditch our laptops and netbooks for good and just get an iPad. Well, the short answer is probably not. Based on the feature comparison with the 499 iPad and you know your typical 299 to 499 netbook, there a lot of ways in which the iPad you know this is not an adequate substitute. So the 10, and 11 screens on most netbooks are even bigger than the iPad screen and of course you know most netbooks have a minimum of two or three USB ports, a VGA output, an SD card slot and Ethernet jack and of course the webcam. Now, you may not need all these features every time you use your netbook, but chances are you will need at least one of them. On the other hand the collection of ants and tools are specifically built for the iPad's architecture, so these things feels a lot faster more powerful than the netbook under a lot of circumstance because netbooks, you know, they have got that single core Atom processor. They have got 1-gig of RAM, they have got Windows 7 starter and they end up just spending a lot of the times just jogging even when you are just opening browser windows. So, if I am going to the coffee shop to read the New York Times online or watch the movie in the backseat of a car, well you know, then the iPad maybe a better choice, but if I am writing an article, if I am playing FarmVille on Facebook, I am talking to somebody over Skype, well, then I will be keeping my netbook handy for a while. I am Dan Ackerman, answering the all important question, is the iPad a netbook killer.