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RAIN 4/1: Tech reviewers cheer for Apple iPad following first hands-on trials

Posted on: 04/01/2010

REVIEWERS PREDICT DEVICE WILL ESTABLISH THE TABLET COMPUTER CATEGORY

Tech reviewers in major mainstream newspapers like The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal universally lauded Apple’s new iPad device today after being afforded a bit of time to actually use it.

The coverage is certainly far more enthusiastic than that in the weeks leading up to Saturday’s public launch. AdAge.com wrote yesterday, “Coverage in major magazines, newspapers and wire services has been neutral an overwhelming 76.8% of the time, negative 17.4% of the time and positive just 5.8% of the time, according to analysis for Ad Age…” (Read more here.)

How much difference a day (and actually having an iPad) makes. USA Today’s Jefferson Graham and Ed Baig wrote, “The first iPad is a winner. It stacks up as a formidable electronic-reader rival for Amazon’s Kindle. It gives portable game machines from Nintendo and Sony a run for their money. At the very least, the iPad will likely drum up mass-market interest in tablet computing in ways that longtime tablet visionary and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates could only dream of.” Read their review (with video) here.

While acknowledging that “techies” and “everyone else” might feel differently about the device (they certainly largely have already, without ever using one), David Pogue at The New York Times came up with an identical “take away” for both groups: “The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch.” (The point: whether that’s good or bad likely depends upon to which group you belong.) “The bottom line is,” he writes, addressing the technophiles, “that you can get a laptop for much less money… Besides: If you’ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, who’s going to carry around a third machine?” But, for everyone else, the iPad is an almost-unqualified win: “The iPad’s killer app, though, is killer apps… The bottom line is that the iPad has been designed and built by a bunch of perfectionists. If you like the concept, you’ll love the machine.”

Walt Mossberg at The Wall Street Journal agrees in this “duality” of the machine’s appeal. “My verdict is that, while it has compromises and drawbacks, the iPad can indeed replace a laptop for most data communication, content consumption and even limited content creation, a lot of the time. But it all depends on how you use your computer,” he wrote. Read his review here. Jefferson Graham (in one of the USA Today review videos) concurs, “The iPad is more about consuming content than creating it.”

Most mainstream reviewers are merely gushing; Andy Ihnatko at the Chicago Sun-Times has apparently been handed his raison d‘être. He wrote, “The most compelling sign that Apple got this right is the fact that despite the novelty of the iPad, the excitement slips away after about ten seconds and you’re completely focused on the task at hand… Second most compelling: in situation after situation, I find that the iPad is the best computer in my household and office menagerie. It’s not a replacement for my notebook, mind you. It feels more as if the iPad is filling a gap that’s existed for quite some time.” Here’s more.

No surprises in the drawbacks reviewers found: No support for Adobe Flash (so most web video doesn’t run, though many content sites are using technology like HTML5 to make their video iPad-compatible). Getting media into the iPad usually requires an iTunes sync (there are no drive slots).

Naturally, after writing all of this, we stumbled upon Fast Company’s “Crib Sheet,” which nicely compiles links and pulls quotes from the major reviews. If you want to read more (almost completely positive) reviews, check it out here.

Unfortunately, no review we found spoke to the matter at the heart of this publication’s mission: Will (and how will) the Apple iPad transform (a) the way consumers find and enjoy content from audio providers like broadcasters and webcasters; and (b) the way those providers present and market their brands to consumers? We want to try Pandora on the iPad, and JacAPPS’ iPad apps, and iheartradio, and AccuRadio’s app, etc.

ANDO RANKER SHOWS FEBRUARY LISTENING UP

Ando Media has released February’s “Internet Audio Top 20 Ranker,” its ranking of the most-listened to webcasts it measures. And Ando is reporting several positive trends in listening in February over January.

From its “Domestic Ranker” (that is, measuring listening in the U.S. only) during the 6a-8p daypart, Ando says “average active sessions” (Ando’s unit that’s similar to “AQH”) were up 1.85% among the Top 20 most-listened to webcasters over January. The number of listeners simply tuning in (Ando calls it “Sessions Started,” similar to broadcast’s traditional “cume”) was up over 7% (presumably the fact that February is shorter than January was taken into account), and the Average Time Spent Listening rose slightly (2.88%) to over two-and-a-half hours.

Ando Media will host an online conference to discuss the February Ranker Wednesday, April 7th at 3pm ET/2pm CT. Register here.

The first chart below represents all listening (U.S. and international) during the 6a-12M daypart. Note that since Pandora and Clear Channel no longer stream outside the U.S., they do not appear on this chart (expect CBS Radio to disappear next month too). The second chart is the Domestic Ranker referred to above. For easier-to-read charts, see Ando’s full press release here.



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