I wonder if the iPad is a new paradigm in computing - a true internet appliance - an essentially sealed box.
As with all things Apple, it has beautiful design and a cult like following that seems to overlook the flaws in the device which would not be forgivable if the same flaws existed in a device made by - say Microsoft for instance.
There are many things interesting about this device, not least the apparent unobtrusiveness of the operating system. The OS is passe as it were. No one cares about it any more. I felt that acutely when I upgraded my pc to Windows 7 and enjoyed the OS feel for all of 5 minutes before launching the browser. Apple seems to have recognized this. People want the device to start up and load the apps they want to use as fast as possible. They don't want to defer to a pompous OS as it creaks itself to an on position.
In a perverse way Apple has bested the initial OS and app launch designs first introduced by the makers of PDAs' - remember the Palm Pilots anyone? The design is not groundbreaking in any way but the look and feel and handling definitely is. It is unsurpassed.
Now comes the billion dollar question. What does Microsoft have in response? One hopes it is a completely new and tiny OS that runs on devices like this rather than Windows light. As it is Android and devices that use it like the Adam tablet (http://gizmodo.com/5471559/notion-ink-adam-tablet-caught-on-video-specs-finalized) are already in the wings.
It will be a very interesting era in computing to have a match with three heavyweights competing.
Apple has done a great job but customers benefit from competition.