CUPERTINO, Calif. (
iPad earned positive reviews and a big cameo appearance on prime time TV before the Wonder Tablet's arrival on Saturday.
The hotly-anticipated touch-screen iPad has stormed media's center stage. And the spotlight seems to be shining especially bright, given that this is Apple's first new product since the introduction of the popular iPhone three years ago.
To many observers, including investors, the iPad is a crucial follow-up for Apple. The success or failure of the iPad will help determine if the hot-handed tech shop can keep its winning streak intact.
The iPad's biggest challenge is to carve a new place in the mass consumer-electronics market somewhere between smartphones and laptops.
While the lack of a keyboard and a full-sized computer operating system work
attack on notebooks, Apple's strong card is its deft design and finger tip-controlled touchscreen technology. The critics, on the whole, say Apple might have another winner.
Stockpickr Answers Any thoughts on selling strategies for Apple with the release of the iPad?
Working in agreement with Apple's schedule requirements, several select personal tech writers published reviews Thursday, two days ahead of the iPad's debut in stores.
The Wall Street Journal's
Walt Mossberg gave the newest Apple device a
Thursday after a week's worth of trials, saying the iPad "has the potential to change portable computing profoundly."
New York Times
reviewer David Pogue took a more
, putting the iPad under the harsh glare of a techie's critique, finding shortcomings with the absence of Flash video, USB and multitasking capabilities. Pogue also followed up from a regular person's perspective with a softer, more glowing appreciation of the device's dazzling media delivery features.
Ed Baig was perhaps Apple's biggest cheerleader, saying the
where other giants like
"At the very least, the iPad will likely drum up mass-market interest in tablet computing in ways that longtime tablet visionary and Microsoft co-founder
could only dream of," Baid wrote.
The glowing previews by critics and the ever-brighter beam of the limelight helped send Apple shares to yet another all-time high Thursday.
Apple shares hit $238.73 early Thursday and retreated some to $237.35, which is up 1% from Wednesday's close.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York