Last week, I reviewed not one, but three new phones. You’d think that would be enough for a while, but fall is peak season for new mobile devices, and another major release — Motorola’s Droid — is upon us this week. But before we get to today’s big review of the Droid, we need a noun. What should we call these iPhone-like, touch screen Wi-Fi phones with music and video, real Web browsers, e-mail, sensors (light, tilt, location, proximity), and, above all, app stores? These machines can download thousands of free or cheap add-on programs — “apps” — and become GPS units, musical instruments and medical equipment. “Smartphone” is too limited. A smartphone is a cellphone with e-mail — an old BlackBerry, a Blackjack, maybe a Treo. This new category — somewhere between cellphones and laptops, or even beyond them — deserves a name of its own.
For the past week or so, I have been testing a sleek, light, silver-and-black tablet computer called an iPad. After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop. It could even help, eventually, to propel the finger-driven, multitouch user interface ahead of the mouse-driven interface that has prevailed for decades.
In 10 years of reviewing tech products for The New York Times, I’ve never seen a product as polarizing as Apple’s iPad, which arrives in stores on Saturday. “This device is laughably absurd,” goes a typical remark on a tech blog’s comments board. “How can they expect anyone to get serious computer work done without a mouse?” “This truly is a magical revolution,” goes another. “I can’t imagine why anyone will want to go back to using a mouse and keyboard once they’ve experienced Apple’s visionary user interface!” The haters tend to be techies; the fans tend to be regular people. Therefore, no single write-up can serve both readerships adequately. There’s but one solution: Write separate reviews for these two audiences.
Apple Inc. is still trying to secure media content for the iPad with just weeks to go before the tablet computer's release, said people familiar with the matter, as the company tempers some of its initial ambitions for the much-hyped device. Since the iPad became available for pre-order last Friday, Apple has seen strong demand and sold hundreds of thousands of units, say people familiar with the matter. One of these people said Apple could sell more iPads in the first three months than it sold iPhones in the three months after the smart phone's debut.
More than a hundred people were lined up at midnight Thursday outside a Verizon Wireless store in midtown Manhattan to be among the first people to buy the new Motorola Droid. About 65 eager shoppers lined the south side of West 34th Street across from Macy's in Manhattan at 11:30 p.m. Thursday waiting for the store to open. Verizon opened the store from midnight to 2 a.m. to give people in the Big Apple a head start on the morning cell phone rush. By midnight, when the doors officially opened, about 100 people stood in line as Verizon officials ushered in customers 25 at a time.