What I wanted from the iPad—a very high-pixel-density HD screen in a small device—didn't happen. But in the commentary of my techie colleagues like David, Alex and Tim, I'm seeing another disappointment. They're saying 'this isn't a computer like I grew up with'. It's not the generative machine that can be bent to our will to do anything, it's a display device.
Now this is true, but it reminds me of programmers complaining about the Web, as opposed to native applications. The Web is something that started out as a display medium, but is now the platform we all expect to build our applications on, precisely because it is an abstraction that comes between us and the particular hardware our users are running. The web is an agreement on how to phrase things.
The iPad picks up this agreement and delivers on it in a new form, but exceptionally well. When the iPhone was launched, I said that the web was the one standard even Steve Jobs can't ignore. This is reinforced by the iPad - it opens with web browsing, and the Book format adopted, ePub, is built on HTML.
I would prefer it if anyone could distribute native apps for the iPad, but we all can create websites.
The big difference the iPhone brought, and that the iPad builds on is the pervasive ability to zoom in and out easily. I think that this will lead to a change in how we think about user experience, with the deep zooming experience we are familar with from Google Maps and now Prezi becoming natural in more and more apps.