iPad: What Apple's Oscar ad revealed

Obsessive techies are scrutinizing the iPad's first TV ad for clues about the mystery device. Here, six new insights, theories, and concerns

The enigmatic, almost coquettish Apple iPad made its inaugural TV appearance during Sunday's Academy Award ceremony in an ad that offered an extended glimpse of what the multipurpose phone/e-reader/computer can do. Eagle-eyed bloggers are dissecting the ad — and have drawn several conclusions, including some Apple may not have intended. (Watch the TV commercial here)

1. It's actually coming...April 3

You don't need any tech chops to deduce this bit of info: Though Apple had already said that iPad presales would begin March 12, the TV spot officially confirmed that the in-store sales date is April 3.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

2. The iPad may have serious flaws

Rahsheen at Blackweb20.com reports that a fellow blogger decided to slow down the ad's footage to "get down to the nitty gritty." (Watch the slowed-down version.) The result? Rahsheen claims he sees evidence of "glitches in the interface" and "plain inconsistencies," such as a "pretty huge delay" between touching the screen and the image flipping. If these are "actually features" and not just "computer animation issues," then we could have some "serious concerns."

3. An iPad e-book will set you back up to $15

Close viewers of the ad noted that it depicts iPad e-books with price tags of $7.99 and $14.99, akin to Amazon Kindle products. We'd better hope these numbers are "realistic," says Brian X. Chen at Wired — or some "fussy consumers" will no doubt complain to the FTC.

4. The iPad looks uncomfortable to use

The 30-second ad includes "21 separate cuts," notes an anxious Cody Sharp at the iPhone Gamer blog. Is Apple hiding the fact that the users "just couldn't get comfortable? ... constant leg position changes" and "fidgeting" suggests there's just no graceful, relaxing way to use this thing.

5. It borrows ideas from the PC

Seth Weintraub at 9to5Mac.com says that even closer inspection of the ad reveals that documents will be saved in a "My Documents" folder, much like they are with a PC. This "nomenclature" is "interesting." Perhaps Apple wants to make it "easier" for "PC people" — or Mac converts — to "understand the storage architecture."

6. Apple is targeting ordinary Americans, not geeks

Ignore the "shiny toy" at the center of the ad and "focus on the background," says Nick Summers at Newsweek. While Apple's ads for the iPhone present it floating in a "stark white void," the iPad "lives in a house." This proves Apple is "shooting direct for the mainstream," agrees Charlie Sorrel at Wired: The iPad is for "people who don’t want a computer," but "want to do the things you need a computer to do."



The next Apple iPad...already?

Apple Tablet: The New Newspaper?

Apple Tablet: Would you pay $1000?

The NYT's Apple tablet leak

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.