Instant Apple iPad Reaction: Disappointment

Steve Jobs is unveiling the Apple iPad, the company's feverishly anticipated tablet device, in San Francisco at this minute. NEWSWEEK Technology Editor Daniel Lyons is on the scene—and says the audience's reaction is surprisingly tepid. "I haven't been this let down since Snooki hooked up with The Situation," Lyons e-mails.

On to some serious observations. The iPad itself seems less svelte than many fans expected—a blogger at Gizmodo estimates that 20 percent of the surface is bezel. The device's home screen features weirdly spaced-out icons. The overwhelming early response among those live-blogging the event, and reacting to the live blogs online, is that this thing looks like a really big iPhone.

Some of the basic apps Apple built for the iPhone seem poorly optimized for the new screen size, while others, like the Maps application, look fantastic. One early shock was how poorly single iPhone apps display on the device—one mode isolates them in the center of a dark screen, almost comically isolated; another mode apparently called "pixel double" blows them up to full screen, which works well for games, but text-heavy apps like Facebook look silly.

The audience at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is decidedly underwhelmed, Lyons says; early excitement is "draining away." Some in the crowd are just browsing the Web on their own devices, not even paying attention to the Apple presentation.

And Jobs himself seems tired and low-key. Speculation about his health, and its impact on Apple's ability to innovate, may only increase after today's event.

Of course, this is all insta-reaction. There could be some magic at the end of Jobs's speech. But if not, perhaps The Onion's great headline this morning wasn't that far off?