Apple's iPad announcement was completely on-par with my expectations. It is basically a large iPod Touch. There is actually nothing magical or revolutionary about it, despite Apple's claims.

First, a few obvious facts:

  1. The iPad is not a fit-in-your-pocket mobile device. You'll still need your phone. In fact, you still might want your iPhone. Being able to pull out your iPhone to look up quick contact or contact information is very useful in the middle of a conversation. Having to dig your iPad out of your bag for something so trivial isn't ideal.
  2. If you're reading my blog, the iPad is not your full-time computer. The iPad fills the market the MacBook Air was trying to fill, but failed to. It is a secondary computer to a more powerful full-time computer. You'll still want your main computer to do "real" work. Sure, the iPad will cover most work-related tasks, but software development, graphic design, etc. just won't be covered.
  3. On the other hand, if you are one of the people Google Chrome OS is targeting then maybe the iPad can be your full time computer. You can use a physical keyboard for heavy typing, work with e-mail and office files, as well as just about anything else the average user would need.

Here's where the iPad gets my attention: its direction. Watching the iPad videos makes it perfectly clear to me this is how we should be using computers. I'm not saying we should do away with multi-tasking and physical keyboards. I am saying the interface is designed to be intuitive and natural.

It's not just the interface though. As I'm writing this, I'm laying on the couch with my laptop. I'm not very comfortable, and I feel isolated from the other people in the room. The screen gets in the way. The iPad is different, it just fits into your hands and lap perfectly and doesn't obstruct your view. It is perfect for casual use.

Let that sink in for a second.

Apple is attempting to tap into a new market of casual computer users. Netbooks tried to do this, but ended up just targeting people looking for cheap laptops. The iPad is more akin to the Nintendo Wii than it is to a netbook. Nintendo struck gold by targeting a larger audience than the typical gaming community. Apple could easily do the same with this once more people get it in their hands and realize what the iPad is all about.

It's not a netbook, smartphone, or laptop. It is something different entirely. And I want one.

There, I said it. I want one. I didn't at first, but as the more I think about, the more I would love to be comfortably sitting on this couch with it. My brain is also going a mile a minute with ideas for this thing, something that didn't happen with the iPhone, even though I wanted one of those the moment I saw it.

It should be interesting how this all plays out.