Hi, Bryan. Thanks for the comments! I do agree that there’s room for criticism — I’m critical of several aspects of the iPad myself — but I think that much of the discourse has swung over into “hating,” at least in the pop-cult sense: the reflexive need to dismiss something that seems popular, usually without any real attempt to understand its appeal, and in so doing to paint anyone who actually likes that phenomenon as stupid. I see that in Cory Doctorow’s Boing Boing article from this morning (from which I derived my title) — not content to criticize the iPad, or to suggest ways that it could bear improvement, he both dismisses it and suggests that anyone who would buy one is hopelessly misguided.
In any case, I do agree with you about the three-screen potential, and think that’s where this is headed; Jobs’s initial introduction to the iPad focused on the netbook as its target not because it’s a “laptop killer,” but because it does a terrible job of inhabiting the third space between laptop and smartphone. That’s the iPad niche — it’s a mistake to think that it can take the place of the laptop, at least in its current configuration, but as a device primarily meant to access the web and a range of media content, it’s got a place.
Oh, and as an update to my Gmail suggestion in the post, there’s this from Google today. Very interesting.