Apple has opened pre-orders for the iPad tablet today, with free shipping and delivery on April 3 (for the Wifi model; late April for the Wifi + 3G version). Aside from a little down time this morning for maintenance/updates, the Apple.com website has been performing pretty well for tablet shoppers. The process is fast and simple, and it issues a confirmation within minutes. (For a closer look at the ordering process, check out Brandon Wallace’s piece on this over at Today’s iPhone.)
So the mechanics of snagging an iPad is well in hand. Oh, but when it comes to actually laying down the cabbage for it, there’s more to it than that, isn’t there? There are plenty of reasons on both sides, for and against, buying one. In fact, I have to hand it to Gizmodo: The site posted a pretty great round-up of the various arguments. I’ll share some of the highlights here (along with a little commentary):
•The iPad IS A BETA: Even if you want it, why would you pay for a 1st gen model? There are always bugs with first versions.
•The price might drop, so wait. Just look at the iPhone: The price tag dropped two frakkin’ months after its debut.
•It costs as much as a laptop, but doesn’t offer as much. Boo!
•No Adobe Flash! It ain’t no “magical” media consumption device then.
•Microsoft's Courier will kick the iPad’s butt. (That is, if they’ll ever release the thing!!)
•It’s nothing more than a big iPod Touch — with NO CAMERA and no multitasking. ‘Nuff said.
•That big onscreen keyboard will suck to type on. And the hardware one costs how much? $70 bucks?
•There are no actual reviews out yet. Why on earth would you spend hundreds of dollars on an unreviewed item? (You won’t even watch a $12 movie without checking reviews first!)
•ANOTHER Data Plan? On top of the data plan for your smartphone? Sure, there’s the Wifi only model, but that limits you to, like, Starbucks, school and your parents’ cable modem. What’s the point of that?
•The iPad is NOT A BETA: Steve Jobs risked his whole rep on this. And the bugs were already worked out in previous versions — otherwise known as the iPod Touch and the iPhone.
•That price is a steal! For the $500 cost of the base model, you get an eReader, web browser, media player, and gaming system. All that separately, would come to way more than that.
•Those apps are going to be SICK with that huge screen and processor — especially the games and media content. (The SDK’s maturing nicely with this!)
•No Adobe Flash? Who cares? HTML5 is the future. And more sites are using it. (Remember floppy drives? Macs were the first to ditch that too. Miss that much?)
•Get an immediate fix for that “early adopter” addiction, then sell it! The iPad, like most Apple products, will keep its resale value. It might even exceed it: The tablet’s not available worldwide yet, and there are rumors of supply shortages. So early buyers could come out ahead on this.
•This is a piece of history! Sure, there are other tablets, and more are coming, but the iPad — with its gorgeous display, flawless touchscreen input, and app-driven OS — has exploded into the mainstream awareness. Like it or hate it, this will be credited for being a huge step forward for personal computing. And it’s single-handedly going to save the entire publishing industry.
•It's the ONLY Data Plan you need: Take-anywhere, do-anything 3G data, priced affordably, and without a contract commitment? Penny pinchers could ditch that smartphone for a feature phone, and pair it with this instead.
Funny story (true story): The writers that came up with these arguments both actually "pulled a 180" — The author of the “Con” arguments actually bought an iPad, and the dude who wrote up the “Pro” side didn’t. Go figure.
What about you? Do any of these points tip you to the other side? And who is going to/got theirs today? Weigh in.
UPDATE: Apple Insider reported that 50,000 iPads sold in the first two hours that pre-orders were open this morning. Also, Apple offered a little more detail on the device's 3G access. Users will be able to start and cancel a no-contract data plan with AT&T direct from the tablet. That means people can bump up their data (or downgrade) their allotment at will, without contacting AT&T to do it. (So if you travel, and know you'll be using it more from the road, for example, you can upgrade your plan simply and easily. And if you don't, the device will let you know when you're approaching your limit and ask if you want to upgrade.) The plans run $15 per month for 250MB of data, or $30 per month for unlimited access.