Every Apple enthusiast that I know was waiting for Steve Jobs to make the announcement. Blogs had speculated for months about this fantastical tablet.
But would the tablet make a huge splash? Would we all line up to buy one? Will it change the face of computing? In the long run, yes. In the short run, no. At around $800 the iPad is competitvely priced with laptops, but doesn't have all of the functionality of a laptop. It is a bit bigger than an average eBook reader and will download from several major publishers. It runs the same operating system as the iPhone and it downloads apps from the iTunes App Store.
Honestly, the iPad hard to define. Most people talk about it as if it is a giant iPhone without the phone or a glorified eBook reader with a net book price tag.
Steve Jobs slammed net books saying that they really have no use at all, but the price sustains the market. He categorized the iPad as a competitor for net books.
Most speculate that the iPad will compete in gaming and eBook markets. Although Steve Jobs deemed Apple a mobile company (which I thought was most interesting), this would make Apple a major publishing company. It would make Apple a major player in music, books, and games.
The last several products that Apple has released have changed the face of our world, and although iPad will certainly subsidize Apple and make a formidable force in publishing, most people do not want to pay $800 for an eBook reader or for a giant iPhone without the phone.
So will iPad find a huge market and change the way we all look at laptops? Eventually, yes. No-one thought net books would take off, but they did. We try to predict how a new type of product will fit into our lives, but usually those products change the way we live our lives; and that is much harder to predict.
The iPad is different, it's useful, and it could find it's way into our hands, but it will take a while, and I believe it will take some time and some tweaks in the operating system so that developers can build applications that turn the iPad into something more than an eBook reader, gaming machine, or Internet tablet.