Now the long wait is at last over, the tech industry has been keen to share their impressions of Apple's smartphone-netbook stopgap, the iPad – and the reactions paint a very mixed picture.
Some foresee big things for iPad, with the extra screen space and five-point mutli-touch opening up a wealth of gaming opportunities. Others, however, are struggling to see how the device sits in the market and how Apple can justify key omissions such as Flash support and multitasking.
Here's a round-up of what's the web has been saying:
As the world's leading developer and publisher of mobile games, we are excited about creating and playing new games on this innovative platform,” says a statement issued by the company. In addition to Need for Speed, we will announce other titles closer to the launch of the iPad.”
Alex Galvagni – senior VP of global product development, Glu Mobile
We believe it is very exciting and could have a big impact to our business as we continue to scale our content up to more sophisticated devices like the iPad. It could also bring more customers to our business and open up gaming to an even larger audience.”
Paul Farley – MD, Tag Games
The Apple iPad is possibly going to have the biggest impact on gaming of any hardware launch to date,” he says. Not only will it cement Apple's position as the most exciting gaming hardware manufacturer, the arrival of the iPad will further accelerate the transition of all video-gaming to digital distribution platforms.”
Gene Munster – analyst, Piper Jaffray
This is a game-changing device, the start of a big shift."
Neil Young – founder, Ngmoco
In Eliminate we have a 'touch anywhere' interface that I think lends itself well to the larger screen. Something like that is much more relevant when you have more screen real estate to work with, and I think we'll start to see developers adapting their controls moving forward. This new device essentially has five-finger multi-touch, so there's a lot more we can be doing than just trying to simulate old-fashioned game control conventions.”
The iPad announcement and Apple's A4 chip have come at a fantastic time for us. We are working on some incredibly fun and exciting games that will look amazing on iPad and take full advantage of its features, as well as working brilliantly on iPhone and iPod touch.”
Matthew Wiggins – CEO, Wonderland Software
There are two features in particular that have incredibly exciting gameplay consequences: the big screen size and resolution; and the way that the iPad is going to be used. You can see from the software that Apple demoed, how the 4x pixel area totally changes the kinds of interfaces and interactions available compared to the iPhone – things that weren't possible, or are severely compromised, on a smaller screen are now up for the taking. The faster, in-house processor backs this up really well - it's a big thing that Apple can now control the hardware and software for their products.”
Gary Marshall – TechRadar
"Don't underestimate the importance of simplicity. Even the best netbook is overly complicated for basic stuff such as email, photos and web browsing. The iPad makes them all as simple as opening your fridge - and it doesn't do things for the sake of doing them. No, it doesn't have a camera. Why on earth would you want to take photos with something the size of a large paperback book? It doesn't make phone calls because it's not a phone. It doesn't have hooves because it's not a horse."
Jenova Chen – co-founder, thatgamecompany
Hoped iPad would be a powerful creative tool with multi-touch interface. All I got in the end is a consumption tool with bigger surface area.”
James Friedland – analyst, Cowen & Co
"This is not an e-reader - this is a device that can be used to read books. This doesn't change the game."
Joshua Topolsky – writer, Engadget
"If Steve Jobs hoped to answer the question about why we need this third device, or how it's better than a netbook, he didn't make a compelling case. Where is video chat? Where is multitasking (honestly, only one app at a time for a device of this size and speed)? Why is the lock screen so embarrassingly empty? Why are there no active widgets to fill that huge homescreen space? Where is the expansion of the multitouch user experience? And seriously, where are the media partnerships?"
Adam Frucci – Gizmodo
If this is supposed to be a replacement for netbooks, how can it possibly not have multitasking? Are you saying I can't listen to Pandora while writing a document? I can't have my Twitter app open at the same time as my browser? I can't have AIM open at the same time as my email? Are you kidding me? This alone guarantees that I will not buy this product.”
Jesse Divnich – analyst, EEDAR
Right now the iPhone infrastructure is not conducive to a healthy bottom-line for third-party publishers, games are just too cheap with the most premium of games retailing on the iPhone for $10 (or $7 in publisher revenue). If third-party publishers are going to treat the iPad as a serious gaming device the average selling price per game has to at least double, which is difficult to achieve, especially when you consider that your $19.99 game in the App store is competing against games that sell for $1 to $5.”
Rory Cellan-Jones – tech editor, BBC
The big question is whether Steve Jobs is right in thinking there's a yawning gap between smartphones and netbooks which the iPad will fill. It's not entirely clear if a huge number of people - apart from dedicated early adopters - are desperate for yet another device.”
Mike Harvey – writer, The Times
"There is no support for Adobe Flash - again, Apple does not do this on the iPhone. But people will begin to really miss it on the bigger, more beautiful iPad screen. The lack of camera -