For some time it seemed that Apple couldn’t put a foot wrong in the technology market. Every product created was better than the last and both the media and the general public were certain to pounce on them quickly. It seems strange then that the announcement of the newest device from the company caused what can only be described as mixed reactions. It appears that there is a bit of a lack of information as to where the iPad actually fits within the mobile technology market. Is it to replace a netbook? Allowing for access to the internet through mobile broadband plans? Or is it just a big iPhone? Best suited for hopping onto a mobile broadband network and providing access to the internet wherever your foot treads?

The iPad, with its 9.7 inch touch screen, does look like a magnified iPhone. With the iPhone’s huge success this isn’t necessarily a problem, unless of course the new device doesn’t really offer anything new. The iPad will certainly be aiming to capture the imagination of Netbook users by offering essentially the same functionality, but wrapped up into a typically sexy tablet form. It will certainly cost more than a Netbook though, so what does it really have to offer more than the traditional mini-laptop?

On release the only way to connect with an iPad will be through wireless broadband plans, as 3G connectivity is yet to be included. Other than the usual sleekness of an Apple interface then, there doesn’t seem to be much benefit. The next version of the iPad however, which will feature the ability to use a mobile broadband network to get online, looks to have more positives. But is the ability to get online wherever you are enough of an incentive to hand over the extra cash?

Before deciding what would be the most suitable device for you, you will need to think carefully about what you want from it. If you are familiar with Apple products, then the iPad will not be surprising for you. You will be greeted with a typically user friendly and attractive interface, and the ability to endlessly upgrade with additions from the Apple App Store. However, those less familiar with the Apple Empire might struggle, initially at least, to come to terms with how the device functions. Don’t expect to be able to use software that you are familiar with on Windows devices for example, as it will be unlikely to run them at all. Windows 7, which is arguably as nice an operating system as Apple’s Mac OS, may also narrow the gap between the two different options.

It seems then that the iPad is an expensive way to get online anywhere using a mobile broadband network (which would have to be paid for separately of course). Fans of Apple products will certainly feel at home with it, and aesthetically it will be hard to beat, but whether that justifies the additional cost will be a decision that only you can make.