Ok, as a self-respecting geek, I think I have to say something about this whole "iPad" thing.

I'm not as much of an Apple geek as I used to be, that's for sure. It's not that I don't think that Apple's doing something quasi-innovative and useful in the world of technology and the business around consumer technology. I think bringing UNIX to the hands of "mass market" desktop users was a great move. Although the iTunes Store is not without it's issues and concerns, the fact that Apple was able to create a viable environment and market that allowed people to exchange money for software and content is probably a good thing. And Apple has brought to a general public a number of hardware configuration (in recent years) that I think make a lot of sense: the mini-tablet (iPhone/iPod Touch), laptops with usable battery lives, the pocket jukebox (iPod Classic,) and so forth.

Deep breath. Having said that... I'm not terribly impressed with the iPad, or moved by it's potential at the moment. I know Apple often takes a few generations to make something really work, and so I think it's important to not say "this implementation sucks, and so the whole notion sucks, and is with out merit." Of all the things that I've heard (or said,) in the past few weeks of the iPad the following two threads have stood out:

  • I'm really quite interested to see what other makers are going to be doing in this space. What's the Lenovo tablet going to look like? HP? One of the leading complaints about the iPad (and iPhone) is Apple's total-lock-down over the platform, and I think an Android tablet, or a super Nokia N900 is likely to be much more open and killer awesome.
  • I'm interested to see what the iPad platform looks like in a revision or two. Add an SD slot? Multi-tasking? Additional input methods? It could look really awesome, and while I have misgivings (see below) I don't want to write it off entirely.

At the same time, I don't really feel like there's an in-between device that I don't currently have that I'd like to have. In a lot of ways, even I feel like I have too many devices, too many inboxes (of one sort or another), and too much technology to manage. I'm not complaining. The truth of the matter is that my laptop gets great battery life, isn't very big at all, and does everything I need of a computer, and almost everything I need of technology in general. iPods are better for playing music if I'm moving around or in the car, and the Kindle is great for what it is, and I do sort of have a Blackberry habit.. but...

My technological challenge at the moment is that I don't have enough time to get done that which I would like to get done, not that I have a situation where I could be more productive if I only I had a device that would do something more." That's not something that seems to cross my mind very much. It might be nice to have a slightly more accessible emacs instance that I could use to enter snippets of text and work on things in the kinds of moment. I'm thinking a Nokia N900 might fit that bill pretty well, but I'm not sure.

If you're thinking about getting an iPad, what's the niche that you see it filing? Do you have a niche that seems like it might be iPad sized?