iPad’s first TV ad puts all other tablet ads to shame

Yeah, I know that headline isn’t saying a lot. Last TV commercial I saw for a tablet was for Lenovo’s ThinkPad X41T and it never even showed the thing in action. Hence, when I saw Apple’s iPad commercial last night during the Academy Awards, I felt at once both excited and mournful.

The excitement comes with seeing a well-executed tablet commercial during a widely watched program. Until last night, pretty much the only tablets people saw on TV were used to investigate crime scenes or determine the course of enemy fighters at sub-light speeds. As usual, Apple dazzled us by flashing through the various things a person can do on the iPad. The key phrase there being “things a person can do” as opposed to what the iPad can do. It seems a small differentiation, but it’s what makes their advertising so effective.

At the same time, I felt a twinge as my first thought was, “no wonder people don’t know tablets already exist.” While I admonish mass media types who display no knowledge of tablets as they report on the iPad, I grudgingly admit that not enough was done to generate tablet awareness outside the niche market. Most people just don’t know and those that do weren’t shown anything worth remembering. Well, with one slick commercial, Apple solved that problem.

So was the ad effective? I think so. Didn’t affect my opinion, but I think many people (again, folks who don’t know tablets) would get starry-eyed to the point of wanting to try it at their local Apple Store. Whether that hooks them into buying one is a separate story, but actually being in stores to handle is one big advantage the iPad has over just about every other tablet. Going to be very hard for other tablets to take advantage of the iPad hype until they get in store displays. And then there was my wife who, while surrounded by Tablet PCs, asked, “When are we going to get one?”

So what do you think? iPad ad: big winner at the Oscars or another victim of The Hurt Locker? Great for tablets in general, only for the iPad, or none of the above? By all means, let loose in the comments. Copy of commercial below from Engadget in case you missed it.