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Has Apple Lost Its Mojo?

Apple iPad

 (Apple)

The company once notorious for its ability to upend convention and revolutionize markets may no longer have what it takes, worry some technology journalists. Call it the iPad or the iPlod, but the message seems clear: Apple may have lost its mojo.

Apple has a lengthy history of developing products that inspire technology lust. The iPod transformed the music industry, for example, and the newer iPhone had the same effect on the mobile phone market. But those products have a clear, gotta-have-it factor, filling an obvious niche and making their reason for existence clear.

Not so the iPad.

"I don't think Apple succeeded in convincing the world yesterday that the iPad is indispensable," notes Harry McCracken, editor of Technologizer and the former editor in chief of PC World. 

Joshua Topolsky, the editor in chief of gadget-blog Engadget, seems to agree. Following the big product launch, he twittered the same sentiment: "I have to say, the overwhelming response is a 'no' on getting the iPad. Definitely a fight for Apple to show us why we need it."

FoxNews.com readers certainly agree. Most of the comments on our story about the launch of the iPad echo these opinions. Reader Andil sums up the sentiment best: "This is all they could come up with? Sorry, Apple, I saved up some money over the last few months just to be ready to purchase a new product, but I have to say it does nothing for me. I got $500 extra in my pocket now!"

So what is it about the iPad that so turned off the public? "It's a classic first-generation Apple product," says McCracken. "There are missing features, and lots of things it doesn't do, and it looks like iBooks won't launch with the vast selection of content that the Kindle has."

No iBooks? But weren't they one of the main selling points for this product?

Lance Ulanoff, editor in chief of PCMag.com, acknowledges some of the missing features, but is confident Apple will fix them -- in the next version. " Version two will surely address some of the major oversights, like the lack of a Webcam," he told FoxNews.com.

PCMag.com's lead audio analyst Tim Gideon generally likes the product, but even he had to point out  that "this thing is big. And at 1.5 pounds, it's not exactly light, either." So much for the glorious design heritage.

Still, the faithful are defiantly (and unsurprisingly) in favor of Apple's latest creation. Clearly responding to the negative reviews and "so-what" opinions that followed the big announcement, Wilson Rothman, features editor for gadget-blog Gizmodo, defends the company adamantly:  "NO Apple hasn't lost its mojo. And people feel post-coital malaise every time Apple rolls something out. It's only been 23 hours!"

Rothman does acknowledge Apple's history of underdelivering on hardware, however:  "Apple always put out products that are underwhelming in the spec department. The company is slow to adopt pretty much everything, from SD card slots to integrated Webcams to new hard drive interfaces," he admits.

FoxNews' Clayton Morris agrees with Rothman, asking "is there room for another device that sits between the iPhone and the Macbook? Apple proved to me that the answer is yes."

But on the whole, consumers and journalists seem unimpressed with the latest and greatest from Cupertino. Of course, it's always possible that Apple rushed the first-generation version of the iPad out the door, while the company addresses missing features and polishes up the product for the second-generation.  

"I think it'll take a year or so before it's all clear -- by which time Apple will be announcing a new iPad with a lot of the stuff that's missing from this one," says McCracken. The message seems clear: Hold out for version 2.0.

Jeremy A. Kaplan is Science and Technology editor at FoxNews.com, where he heads up coverage of gadgets, the online world, space travel, nature, the environment, and more. Prior to joining Fox, he was executive editor of PC Magazine, co-host of the Fastest Geek competition, and a founding editor of GoodCleanTech.