Ok, I'll answer the question. The iPad is the next Newton, with all that implies. I was going to let it slide, since I don't really see any direct impact on the point of this endeavor, but then I read a message on Cringely's site which quoted (I haven't taken the time to confirm, since the quip is funny even if invented) an article in the Washington Post:
Article in today’s Washington Post about the iPad … The biggest question asked, “Does it come with wings?” And, no, Bob X, we’re not talking about the aviation kind …
I used to read the Post every day when I lived there, so it seems farfetched for such a conservative (both politically, it was only briefly otherwise during Watergate, and culturally) organization, but still on pointe. The larger issue relates to openness. We've gotten used to a sort of open system with regard to the Web. Apple has never been open, which is occasionally mentioned when discussing MicroSoft versus the World, and the iPad, based on what's been reported, will be a closed environment. It's been mentioned that Apple has patent, not yet challenged, on multi-touch, so Apple could monopolize that sector of "computing appliances". The i* stuff uses CPUs (and other sorts of xPUs), but more in the way your car does.
To the extent that computation moves from "computers" to "appliances" such as i* widgets, Balkanization will ensue. Linux, and the open non-mono culture it supports, will disappear. Any number of recent events, not all computer industry based, make my lower brain stem tickle with images of a "Robo Cop" society. eeeeeeew!!!