Today Apple unveiled the innovative tablet computer, the iPad. As usual, the carefully crafted Apple marketing hype machine provided widely speculated and carefully leaked information about the iPad that preceded the actual introduction today. According to the company, the iPad is “Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.” Wow, that’s a lot of adjectives in a single sentence. Without buying into all of the marketing hype, I do agree that it does have some very cool new features in a slim 9×7 package. Most importantly, I believe it is a revolutionary product, like the iPhone, and that it will eventually replace my MacBook Pro laptop computer. It’s a slick enhanced version of the iPhone, albeit with computer-esque features. Consider this: it allows easy e-mail access, beautiful video playback, easy photo review and sharing and the ability to purchase and read e-books with simplicity and comfort. No eye strain or small screens that require me to flip pages every 5-7 seconds, like the Kindle application on my iPhone. From an avid book reader perspective, screen size matters. There is an innovative feature that allows a virtual keyboard, identical to the iPhone software that will surely please and or alienate some who prefer a more tactile input. Make no mistake about it, this is the computer of the future! When I looked at the seemingly inadequate storage size, from 16GB to the superior solid state 64GB, I realized three things: 1) the second generation will surely have a larger storage capacity, just like the second and third generation of iPhones, 2) the utility of this product matches how people will use it (more on that in a minute and 3) I will purchase one next year because the price will drop, new features will be added and the inevitable bugs will be fixed. Now, back to point No. 2: When was the last time you spent time updating Excel spreadsheets or typing a novel in Microsoft Word or even storing gigabytes of video or pictures while in transit or waiting in line? Even when I take public transportation or business trips, everything that I usually need to do can be accomplished with this iPad. The proliferation of off-site storage options either through my home computer system or via online storage sites will eliminate all of these concerns in the future. The beauty is that this is simply a lightweight, network access device! (Did you notice the sneaky data plan option from AT&T.) That’s right, sync it to your .me or Google account and you have access to all of your documents and photos stored elsewhere. It’s lightweight, easy to read and for newspapers, which are all going digital, the addition of photos and video makes it a perfect fit. What you begin to realize is that this matches human behavior and alters the use of computer laptops into the evolving market of smart tablets. As an Apple iPhone and MacBook Pro laptop user, it’s currently a luxury with redundant technology. However, there is most certainly an iPad in my future. My only question is always the same and it has to do with AT&T. Will I still be able to use a software hack and connect my iPhone to my iPad to get broadband Internet access when I can’t find WiFi? Or will I care?