The thin, light, and easy to hold iPad.

People were hyped up for the longest time before the release of the Apple iPad. Now it has officially been announced, but not released yet, and many of the same people are now complaining about it. “Why would I want an iPad when I’ve got a laptop?”; “The iPad is just a bigger iPod Touch.”; “The iPad doesn’t do enough to make it worth $500.”

Now I’ve got to remind you that the iPad is not out yet. Why does this matter? Because until it was announced it wasn’t available to application developers either. With Apple not releasing the iPad for 60 days, developers have some time to update their applications or create new applications to take advantage of the iPad’s new features.

New features? Yes, Apple just scratched the surface of what the iPad can do by showing us drop down menus, pop-up selections, and multiple panes in applications. iWorks was shown with new features not available on the iPhone or iPod Touch. Even the iPhone standard applications worked and looked better on the iPad with just an updated iPhone OS.

Apple updated the iPhone and iPod Touch OS to versions 2.0 and 3.0 in March of 2008 and 2009 respectively. March 2010 is here in just a few weeks and we will get a preview of OS 4.0 for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Yes, the iPad will run the same OS, but Apple will make it scalable to run differently based on the device it is running on.

What new features will we see in OS 4.0? Some think we will finally get folders, better notification, and a lock screen that shows us how many emails are waiting, meeting scheduled, and the local weather. The iPad could get more icons onscreen and pop-up windows. Maybe we will get some kind of multitasking. How about a personalized wallpaper on all the screens?

We really don’t know what is possible with the iPad yet. Therefore, you really can’t listen to all the complaints about the iPad. We only know about the hardware. The software part of the iPad is going to change.

Now I know you are wondering why I called it the Apple WiiPad in the title. Well, that is because I think the iPad is for a different market of people like the Nintendo Wii. Look at all the complaints against the Wii when it came out. It wasn’t hi-def… it didn’t have a dual-analog controller with a bunch of buttons… it didn’t play DVD movies… and look at all the jokes made about the name.

Criticized before release, the Wii has sold more than any other game console.

We are seeing the same thing all over again with the Apple iPad. I can’t say if the iPad is going to sell like the Nintendo Wii, but I can say that it isn’t for the hi-tech geek computer user. Just like the Nintendo Wii wasn’t for the hardcore next-gen console gamer.

Apple isn’t going to cut into their laptop market with the iPad. It wasn’t made to replace a laptop. I could see someone who knows nothing about computers using the iPad to browse the Internet or send emails. I can also see students using the iPad to read school textbooks, do research on the Internet, or take simple notes in class. How about the family who could use the iPad to view vacation photos on the couch, keep up with friends on Facebook, or watch movies while traveling.

Again, we can’t know all the things the iPad is capable of until we see it on release day or after OS 4.0 is up and running on it. Early adopters will be happy with the thousands of iPhone applications that already run on the iPad. Developers are already making updates to their applications so that they take advantage of the larger iPad screen or new features. If you already have an iPhone or iPod Touch with applications, when you sync up your new iPad, those apps will automatically load on it. It may do better than anyone could have predicted.  Only time will tell.

Check out my release day article on the Apple iPad here.