I’ve spent a couple of hours during the past few days poring over the pseudo-news of the iPad launch, which are an anticipated tribute to the might of Apple’s marketing machine – it’s impossible to scroll through my RSS feeds or visit any tech news site on the planet and not find any mention of it, which is the best possible way to drum up demand of any consumer electronics product.

My expectations towards it are tempered with both patience and realism, for not living in the US and not having badgered any of my acquaintances there to pre-order one, I’m likely to be anything between three to six months from owning it, and even then some of the fun bits are likely to be missing (iBooks, for starters, which is repeatedly mentioned as being US-only due to licensing restrictions on its content).

But the sheer amount of attention being thrown at it (both from Apple’s side, with a wealth of online support resources – namely these guided tour videos – and in-store help to setting up and using the device) and the cornucopia of applications that are being pre-announced left and right make for a lot of wishful thinking as to what people will really want to do with the device.

Random statistics aside, I’m positive the iPad will be a transforming force where it regards computing, at least for the lucky few who get their hands on it. It’s not that it will enable people to do completely new things (oh,there will be some truly original ideas, but the likelihood of their being world-sweeping is realistically small), but the ways and contexts where people manipulate information are going to change – or at the very least, to have another fresh alternative added to the mix.

Reams of opinion posts and reviews are sure to flood in next week, and I’ll be one of those sitting back and enjoying the fun of watching all those opinions, controversy and radically different user experiences popping up on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s going to be one hell of a ride, and the next best thing to holding one…

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