The world of computing will change forever this year.
It won't be the iPad, or any other single device that evokes this change, it'll be the people who use them. It isn't the thought that I could have my highly anticipated best seller, magazine and comic book subscriptions, games, email, web content, and personal files all delivered and stored to a single device that weighs less than a couple of pounds. It has nothing to do with the fact that these devices are 25% of what my first Laptop cost ten years ago.
For the first time (ever), the mobile computing industry has no clue what people want and lacks the market share or brand power to dictate to the masses what they should buy. So, the tech sector is frenetically spewing out devices and operating systems in a mad grab for market share? Nope, they do it just to stay relevant. No longer are people buying these devices just because "It's a Sony". They are buying them on the basis of what they do, how much they cost, and whether you can get nifty accessories for them. Can it be jailbroken and hacked for maximum customization? It better.
The mobile computing industry has always created an illusion that the consumer controlled the market. Seeing the lies they've been telling for so long suddenly come true, blowing up in their faces... quite simply rocks. Watching Sony, Asus, Amazon, Apple, Google, HP, Dell, and a host of others slug it out for a share of the market like a pack of rabid animals scrounging for table scraps is entertaining in the same sinister way that a train wreck forces you to stare. Even Google and Apple's match made in heaven could not be sustained in the hell comes from these manufacturers all grasping desperately for my (the consumer's) dollar.
People's eyes are so open to the rise of this new technology that even your casual consumer cannot be swayed. In the next 30 days I will likely talk to both of my 80+ year-old grandmothers about which mobile computing device they should procure. They couldn't have picked a better time to buy as the market suddenly gets flooded with more choices than ever before.
A lot of manufacturers are setting their sights on Apple and like any appreciator of violence sitting ringside, I want to see blood and lots of it. I'd like to see the market get so competitive that the big guys blow their war chests suing each other while the little guy develops the next world changing device or software unfettered. I hope HTC kicks Apple's ass in court and the landscape of how technological devices are patented is changed forever... and for the better.
That being said, I can't wait to get my likely flawed, 1st Gen iPad (or 4th Gen iPod touch, opinion pending), that lacks flash, a forward facing camera, and the functionality of a standard OS. It'll feel like I just bought one of Howard Roark's buildings unfettered as they were intended to be built... free of society's opinions and agenda.