So the internet has been talking about this iPad thing for a few weeks now.

The iPad
Who, me?

The general public seems to be pretty excited about the whole thing. A big iPod touch? Cool!

Many hard-core tech-types are less than impressed. A big iPod touch? Lame!

Somewhere between the two we can find a new, third demographic. The technical-folks who understand why the iPad is cool. People like Dan Moren and Mike Monteiro. Mike came up with a rather brilliant graphic which compares today to tomorrow. That one graphic explains everything you need to know. Go back and click on Mike’s name if you haven’t already. I’m serious.

He’ll know if you don’t click it.

What I’m learning from these people is not that the iPad itself is cool, but rather it’s cool because of what it’s going to lead to. It’s the fact that the iPad’s descendants will eventually be used by 90% of people and the iMac’s descendants will be used by the other 10%. The era of the PC (and Mac) is coming to an end.

This is an important concept but I think it’s difficult to explain to people because it doesn’t have a name.What doesn’t have a name?” you ask.

Don’t you start with that, wiseguy!

There are two main “things” that are important to this concept, I think. One is the fact that the iPad (and iPhone) hides the file system and other computer-y type details. The other one is its single-minded one-task-at-a-time workflow. I’m pretty sure that’s all there is to ‘it!’

Really, it’s just those 2 things. But look at the most-used words associated with the iPad in the general media.

  • Multitouch touch screen
  • No physical keyboard
  • Closed system
  • DRM
  • iTunes ecosystem and app store
  • Multitasking?
  • iWork, iTunes, iPod, and iWhatever
  • No camera, no flash, no Verizon

Not a single one of those has anything at all to do with “it!” So it’s no wonder people are having a hard time with the concept. It’s something only a few people are talking about, and when they do, they don’t know what to call it.

We can solve one part of that problem here and now. We need to name ‘it.’

Once we do that, I think this will be a lot easier to talk about. For example, I can imagine a Dell tablet running Microsoft software on the Verizon network that has as physical keyboard and plays flash. Is that the opposite of the iPad? It is if it lacks “it.” It’s not the opposite if it does have ‘it.’

Once again. We need to name ‘it.’

I’m not very good at this, but here are a few of my ideas for ‘it.’ You would say: The iPad has…

  • Monofocus
  • Stack-Top View
  • Digi-Ritalin

These aren’t very good. You can do better.