Well, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise but I picked up an iPad. It has been an interesting two weeks, and I have to say this little device (which I’m using right now) is living up to my expectations. Is it perfect? No. Does it reflect two decades of development? Yes.

Some may argue that the iPad is nothing more than a big iPod Touch and if one only considers the hardware, I’d have to agree. But when it comes to any device today, whether something has myriad ports, slots and interfaces is meaningless as software defines the success or failure of a device. In this instance, the iPhone OS and the work of third party developers transform the iPad’s potential well beyond the limitations of a smartphone and the compromises of a small notebook. iPad is what it is — a mobile device built upon a paradigm that is removed from the tradition of personal computing; it is a shining example of personal technology.

Apple’s three decades of human interaction experience and two decades of mobile research and development have come together in one seamless package of software and hardware built upon the ubiquity of wireless communication. If this technology triad didn’t exist now, iPad would fall short and under-deliver like the EO, Newton, and the broad spectrum of PDAs over the last 15 years. Fortunately for Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and others, the time is right for devices like iPad (and Kindle) to flourish — provided there’s a consistent vision to drive the ideas forward and the will to bring all of the pieces together. Hardware only goes so far.

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