Apples iPad really isn't anything new. Tablet PC's have been around for a long time.
An IBM X41 Tablet PC - Circa 2005
Apple simply took remove the keyboard and slashed the price (imagine Apple offering a value for money product... in fairness they have several), and they gave us the iPad. The iPad is the hottest product for 2010, and the greatest innovation in the mobile computing market since the netbook.
At 9.56 x 7.47 x 0.5 inches a with a weight of 1.5 pounds and sporting a 9.7" screen this bring portable computing to a new level. At a retail price of a bit less the Php30,000 for the non 3G model (Villman Computers sells it as low as Php25,999 with an Apple Warranty) it makes a decent alternative to the netbook. When you consider all the other tablets being developed, I expect to find Acer, Asus, Dell, Lenovo and HP tablets at the same price range as their netbook by next year.
Even after just a few months in sales the Apple's iPad is the most successful UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) or MID (Mobile Internet Device) in history. If you are looking for a portable internet device, you can stop your search here.
It the tablet the end of the netbook? Searching for the answer I found this old article from Yugatech:
There’s been a huge debate on whether the iPad can replace the netbook. I’d blame Steve Jobs for openly challenging the netbook market and touting the iPad as the better alternative to mobile computing.But, can the iPad really replace the netbook? My quick answer is a big, loud No; and a faint yes.No. The iPad cannot do everything a netbook can. Forget about video chat, photo/video editing, or even playing FarmVille. Moreso if you’re heavily oriented on a Windows machine and dependent on specific tools and applications. Some apps may offer functions of productivity tools but are quite limited.Yes. If your netbook usage pattern is strictly consumptive (i.e. surfing, chatting, email, social networking) then the iPad can easily replace the netbook for those tasks. In some instances, the iPad might even offer a better user experience over the latter (like reading for hours on end).
This comes from Yugatech Apple iPad Review which you can access from this link. It is a good read. I really have to agree. What you cannot do with an iPad is type. It is way to big to thumbtype like on a Blackberry. Typing with it flat on its back is ackward, as you have to lean over it (oh my back). Someone suggested putting it at an angle on a table. I tried this and my wrist were in such an ackward position, but one that guarantees you get carpal tunnel syndrome ASAP.
Make no mistake, the iPad is a cool new tool. But think of it as a pad paper and pen, and not a typewriter.
What is the point of this article? In the end, it is to pay homage to great innovation that was the netbook, and to the tech product of the year: the Apple iPad. The UMPC lives!