One day after the iPad was introduced, reactions in the tech world have been mixed, so I watched Apple’s announcement to see for myself.

There are quite a few features the iPad lacks: multitasking, a camera, Adobe Flash support, HDMI video output, USB ports, an SD slot, and so on. But remember that at first, the iPhone didn’t 3G or native apps for a whole year. And who would have thought you could successfully sell a smartphone without copy and paste for two years? I bet the iPad is starting out the same way — start off with just enough features to get people hooked, figure out what’s really necessary, and then add on.

If you paid attention to Steve Jobs’ pitch, he may have talked about features and specs, but he really emphasized the experience of using the iPad. “The Internet in your hands,” he said over and over again. Hey, it may look like just a giant iPhone, but once you actually try it out, you’ll be hooked. He’s trying to appeal to your emotional, sensual side — which helps explain why a lot of left-brained geeks weren’t buying his spiel.

A few other random thoughts:

  • I found it quite interesting to see what were essentially full-screen iPhone menus being used as pop-up menus or sidebars in iPad applications. If Apple designs its SDK well, it may not be too difficult to create one application that works on both the iPhone and the iPad.
  • The home screens look anemic on such a large screen. The icons look too small, and the spacing too large. I’m surprised Apple didn’t put more design work into this.
  • For input, I didn’t believe the rumor that the iPad would require you to learn a complex set of gestures, but I was hoping for something more interesting than a virtual keyboard (hello, ShapeWriter). I’m curious to try it out and see how well it works. While the iPhone keyboard isn’t perfect, it works better than I expected on such a small screen. And at least you can use a Bluetooth keyboard with it.
  • The biggest surprise for me was how aggressive the pricing is, $500 to $830.

I’d love to get my hands on an iPad, try it out, and see whether it’s as “magical” as Jobs claims. But even if it is, I won’t buy one yet. I never buy the first generation of a gadget, and in the case of the iPhone, it was a good idea. Let’s see what the iPad 2 is like.