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Jim Goldman: My iPad Takeaways

With iPod, I got it. Same with iPhone. iPad, however, might take a little time.

I love the way it looks. I love what it does. I like that it falls somewhere between a laptop and a smart phone. But if this were a case of need versus want, it might be more the latter than the former. At least today.

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I was talking to a friend who says: maybe you take your laptop when you go away on business; maybe you take the iPad when you go on vacation? It's a great way to look at this technology, this platform.

And unlike other "in-betweens," most notably netbooks, iPad doesn't seem to be sacrificing anything. If it doesn't do something, like take pictures since it doesn't have a camera, it's because it's not supposed to.

It only holds 64 gigs because you're not supposed to store your entire movie library on it. Just load what you might need when you're on the go. Or better still, with the 3G connection, maybe you'll just stream via Netflix.

But even at a jaw-dropping $499 for the entry level model, it's still a pricey toy. Some might say the same about an iPod, but they cost much less and don't need a data plan.

It's hard for me to render a verdict simply because I haven't gotten the chance to try to weave iPad into my life and lifestyle. I'll certainly give it a shot, but it's just not quite the no-brainer iPod and iPhone seemed to be.

Other sub-stories: don't underestimate the importance of Apple using a chip from its own PA Semi unit to run iPad. Not Atom from Intel or Snapdragon from Qualcomm , but homegrown tech which, even at $499, should certainly help margins.

iBooks and the iBookstore pose a real threat to Kindle from Amazon. Unless Amazon comes up with a total redesign of Kindle, or drops the price to $49, Apple is positioning itself to eat Amazon's lunch.

Electronic Arts and other game makers, indeed all of the folks behind the 140,000 apps on the App Store must be heartened that everything they've developed will transfer over to iPad. But now they'll have another canvas on which to digitally paint new apps.

The data pricing plan with AT&T is also intriguing. No contracts, far less than what I thought a data plan would cost, and while it is an "unlocked" device, because it's GSM, Verizon is once again out of luck.

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Still, a cheap data plan on a new device like this will stretch AT&T's already under-pressure networks will feel it even more. The no-contract idea is no question a good one.

I had a nice talk with Disney's Bob Iger, who ended up NOT joining Jobs on stage as I had been told he would (and who took issue with my characterization of his shirt being "linen." It was actually cashmere! He's a really good guy.) and he is deeply excited about this device. Consumers, he says, want their content in a variety of ways on a variety of platforms.

He says this is the kind of device that can certainly expand revenue at Disney, and do wonders for its children's book publishing business. I'll post more of my exclusive interview with him tomorrow.

I said during the live blog that iPad could be the match and kerosene setting the whole tablet market ablaze. Apple isn't trying to control old or new media. It's just offering a platform for content creators and sellers. Apple wouldn't mind controlling all digital media, but it's something that'll happen only if those behind the content let Apple seize control. Apple is the conduit. Another part of that match and kerosene thing.

Today, we finally got the match after so much smoke. We'll see whether the market turns the flame into a conflagration.

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