The iPad is here and, while it may not be exactly what everyone was hoping for a lot of tech bloggers have been quick to praise it. John Gruber of Daring Fireball was quick to laud Apple's innovations on the A4 chip. The pad's lack of multi-tasking, a camera, or any useful ports didn't seem to phase him. Walt Mossberg also posted a fairly positive review, although he noted that the keyboard was "awkward" and tutted Apple's choice of AT&T as a 3G supplier.
David Pogue took the middle road, acknowledging that the iPad has some seriously cool features, but pointing out that the question of whether or not it will be a success is far from settled. Stephen Fry pointed out that the original iPhone had its share of detractors on launch day, but that the 3G and 3GS quickly expanded the device's capabilities and turned it into the powerhouse smartphone it is today.
Gizmodo's Adam Frucci had a different opinion. He pointed out eight massive shortcomings of the iPad, and lambasted Apple for releasing a product that lacked so many key features (no multi-tasking, Flash, a plethora of adapters required...). Mashable seemed to agree. They attacked Apple most harshly for introducing a tablet with no HDMI out, something they view as inexcusable from a company that helped pioneer HD expansion. On the other hand, not everyone at Gizmodo was disappointed by the iPad.
The debate over whether or not the iPad is a heartbreaking work of staggering genius or a pile of crap is likely to extend all the way to launch day. At that point, the iPad will either start breaking sales numbers and shutting up all of the critics, or it won't and pundits will start predicting the 'death of Apple'.
Personally, I think the iPad is going to be a hit, but not a "revolutionary" iPhone or iPod style hit. For one thing, the launch is staggered. The most dedicated Apple fans won't be buying an iPad in 60 days, they're going to wait 90 so that they can get a version with 3G. That's going to split up sales and rob Apple of some of the massive launch weekend momentum they've grown accustomed to.
While the iPad will no doubt draw in some loyal adherents, I can't really ever see myself using one. Not until it gets multitasking, a USB port, and HDMI out. I can't think of any reason to trade in my netbook for a device that isn't capable of doing nearly as much.