Windows Activation Technologies Update for Windows 7


Pros: Optional update
Cons: Unnecessary complexity due to Microsoft's invasive antipiracy technologies
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommendation: Windows Activation Technologies Update (WATU) for Windows 7 is available worldwide via Windows Update and as a download from Microsoft's Windows Genuine website. As with a similar update that the company supplied with Windows Vista SP1, WATU is designed to address attempts to bypass product activation (over 70 kinds of attempts, in fact). According to Microsoft, these attempts have grown more sophisticated and, perhaps more alarming, some come with malware as well. WATU offers new "phone home" behavior: It checks every 90 days for new antipiracy updates. I see this update as largely innocuous: unless you're a software pirate—or victim of piracy.
Contact: Microsoft
Discussion: SuperSite for Windows: WATU for Windows 7

Apple iPad


Pros: Proven platform that works well on a larger form factor; compatible with iPhone apps
Cons: No one asked for a device that sits between a smart phone and a PC; it doesn't run Windows; Apple hasn't proven it can handle so many different products well
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Recommendation: Apple's iPad is a 10-inch non-widescreen tablet device that runs a new version of the iPhone OS, is compatible with iPhone OS applications, and runs its own applications as well. The device is sold in a dizzying array of versions, some with pay-as-you-go 3G wireless, some without, and with memory allotments of 16 to 64GB. The iPad should shine in so-called casual computing environments, for tasks like browsing the web. But because it doesn't run a real desktop, it isn't compatible with any of the apps that people use every day. Apple says it's trying to jumpstart a new product category. Although I would argue that this category is new only to Apple, it's never wise to bet against Apple. I think you should wait: The company will almost certainly lower prices, simplify the product matrix, and ship more functionality.
Contact: Apple
Discussion: SuperSite for Windows: Apple iPad