In about a month, Apple will release its much-anticipated iPad tablet. This new device falls somewhere in between a smart phone and a laptop – small enough to tote around town without exhausting your shoulders, but big enough to feel like you’re reading a magazine instead of staring at a playing card.
Many computermakers have dived into the tablet market over the past decade – most landing in a belly flop. Some foresee a similarly soggy future for the iPad. It uses a virtual keyboard instead of real buttons, can’t load every website, and various models cost between $499 and $829.
But Apple has won over skeptics many times before. While slow to catch on, its iPod revolutionized the music industry, almost single-handedly replacing albums with digital tracks. And according to the investment firm Morgan Stanley, the iPhone and iPod Touch are the fastest-adopted gadgets in consumer tech history (see chart).
Maybe Apple’s signature polish can enchant shoppers once again.