Behold: Apple’s iPad, the New Newton


For tech nerds, today’s big Apple product announcement was a little like Christmas, with Steve Jobs as Santa Claus. But now, with wrapping paper strewn across the floor are you satisfied with the iPad?

There’s a lot to be excited about. The device seems reasonably priced. You’re not locked into an AT&T contract, just a pre-paid service plan. There’s 10 hours of battery life and lots of applications that port right over.

But like that taupe-colored sweater that doesn’t quite fit, Apple’s offering leaves one thankful but not really satisfied.

It doesn’t cure cancer or rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure. We might have expected that. But it also doesn’t multitask, or have a camera. No word about a microphone either—which makes it hard to do video conferencing Update: As a reader points out in the comments section, Apple’s website says the product has a built in microphone. And the battery life doesn’t stand up to what you get from the Kindle, even if the pages look massively better.

And then there’s the deal with AT&T. AT&T, which consistently rates worst in customer service and has been subject to massive complaints from iPhone users on dropped calls. AT&T has failed to sufficiently invest in its telecommunications infrastructure during the past half decade, a flaw that will be massively obvious in the coming months if millions of people start using the iPad’s 3G plan. One wonders what dope AT&T has on Jobs which forces him to stay wedded to its horrible service.

I won’t say anything about the name.

The sad truth is that today’s announcement has not given venture capitalists much to be excited about. There’s little in the way of functionality that exceeds what was already available to startups focused on developing iPhone applications.

Don’t expect Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to launch an iPad fund.

To be sure, few people appreciated the magnitude of impact the AppStore would have on startups when the iPhone was launched. But until I see some breakthrough application or use of this device, it’s going to look a lot like a Newton.