Can I have an iPad now?

The articles are rolling in about the iPad and what it means to the universe. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about how this will change our lives forever or that it means absolutely nothing to us – at least for the next 60 days until it finally hits the shelves. Then we’ll hear about lines that formed at 2am three days before the launch and now snake down the street for miles.

Regardless of the fanboy hype or hate, I think the iPad is a very cool device and it shows some interesting changes. I think it solidifies the importance of the eBook reader, a concept Microsoft has still failed to latch onto even though they tried to make their own eBook format several years ago. It also shows that the Netbook isn’t the only game in town. Sure it costs a lot more than a Netbook, but portability and ease of use are the name of the game. Finally, it shows a big shift in how gaming will be done. Interestingly as the Windows gaming market continues it’s decent the iPod game market is on fire.

The Kindle device is cool and has the power of Amazon behind it, but in many ways it’s a one trick pony. Its black and white, isn’t useful for magazines, can’t play video, doesn’t play music and doesn’t offer any other functionality. It’s a big device that accomplishes a single function.

I have no doubt that Apple has major contracts for a slew of new books and magazine to publish their content on the app store. I would be excited as hell to spend $0.99 to $1.99 for an issue of a magazine in electronic format.

For years Apple has struggled with gaming. Seriously, what was the last cool game you played on a Mac? (crickets) However, Windows is letting the gaming market go as it tries to get more games on the console. Not to be left out of the market, how does Apple address this? Damn right, make a portable gaming platform that has thousands of titles to choose from. The Touch, iPhone and now the iPad are the new gaming platforms for the foreseeable future. Developers like Electronic Arts, Gameloft and Chilingo are bringing major league, award winning games to the App Store. Games like Flight Control have sold 2 million units. Need for Speed Shift is getting huge amounts of praise. Real Racing raised the bar for racing games.

In a nutshell, the Apple platforms are money makers and are driving big dollar game sales. I’m not saying they compete with the Xbox 360, but $2 billion in revenue is a big market. Plus, for casual gamers like me, it’s a freakin goldmine! I have no problem grabbing games for $0.99 to $1.99 and spending $20-30 a month for dozens of games versus not even being able to afford a single PC game for that price; unless it’s on sale and came out three years ago.

You combine this with the full power of a Netbook computer for web and email and then add in quality video and music you’ve got a device that is dead simple to use and offer a multitude of entertainment options. I think my iPod Touch is fantastic since I can play games, check email, write blog posts, shop at Amazon, watch videos and check websites without missing a beat. The iPad is going to improve that by offering a better web and email experience (the main reason for a Netbook), bigger and faster games and more viewing area for movies. Some pretty impressive reasons to buy one.

But I think the big think here is that the iPad will appeal to people who have no idea about computers due to its simplicity and no moving parts and to long time computer users like me (also because of its simplicity and no moving parts) because it can be as powerful and versatile as you want it to be.

As they say, there’s an app for that. And now, you can see more of it.

Give it six months; I think the iPad is going to shake things up a lot. It may not be the most revolutionary thing to come along, but it’s got a ton of things going for it. Sure, it’s a big iPod Touch, but the Touch is a hell of a piece of hardware.

And for you Microsoft fanboys, if the technology is so damn old and "welcome to 2000"-esque, where the hell is Microsoft’s device? And how many apps can you run on it?

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