The nay sayers lined up when Apple announced the iPad but arguments such as "I'll get a general tablet so I can run whatever I want" miss the point. The point being these same critics aren't running off to buy a competing device like the HP slate gizmo announced roughly two months prior. In short, the Apple iPad isn't intended for them (barring hot air).
Point number 4 is key. It should have been number 1, underlined and accentuated with a headline tag <H>. Interface is why previous tablet offerings have been relegated to niche status. Is there a particular reason for this? Yes, Rob Enderle sums it up nicely:
Now the most successful company as measured by profitability is Apple–who appears to be still locked into the proprietary hardware and software model that proceeded Windows’ success.
The problem with the PC model and the even more complex cell phone OS model was that no one person owned the customer experience. As a result, with the exception of Apple, PC vendors started doing stupid things like not assuring the service experience or putting software that reduced reliability (crapware) on the systems they were selling. In addition, complexity and an excessive focus on cost reductions got out of hand, significantly reducing the perceived quality of the system.
When the iPad's sales numbers are announced in a year (with unit sales in the millions), the usual will happen. Microsoft will feel the need to duplicate Apple's success and will assemble a crack team to provide a competitive offering. Haven't we been here before? Yes. Zune trying to take on the iPod. This after Microsoft's first response to the iPod Plays for Sure completely fell on its face.
Do you see a pattern here? Continual reaction to Apple's market success stories. This all underscores my strong opinion that Microsoft's leadership lacks vision. Steve Jobs despite his warts (he's not the nicest person if rumors are true) is a tech visionary.
Up until now, Microsoft has simply told hardware vendors to slap plain jane Windows on a keyboardless computer. Once again, complacency and myopia hold Microsoft back.