Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months then you undoubtedly have heard about the iPad, Apple’s new handheld device. Given the widespread media fascination with the iPad, I can’t think of any other way to have avoided hearing about it.

I also don’t know of any product that has been more widely rumored before its official release. Apple officially announced the iPad on January 27, 2010, but the rumors had been flying for months before that. Some of the rumors seemed unlikely (a three-dimensional user interface), some were bizarre (built-in solar panels), but some were fairly accurate (an accompanying ebook store).

I can’t help but wonder if some of those rumors came from Apple itself. Apple has always maintained a tight control of its image and managing information is an important part of that. A few pieces of carefully leaked information could help point the discussion in a new direction.

For example, one of the most widely reported rumors was that the device would cost around $1000. Many people were dismayed by this relatively high price. Of course, those same people were delighted when the real price turned out to be just $499 for the lowest configuration.

All the excessive hype may have partially backfired though, considering the number of people now predicting that the iPad will fail in the marketplace. After the iPhone was introduced, I remember listening to one “expert” explain exactly all the features it was lacking and why it would fail. His arguments made perfect sense, but all he ended up proving was how hard it is to predict the future. My bet is still on the iPad.

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