invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“I’m ‘stuck’ in Paris (poor me), volcanic ash from Iceland has closed the airports. Stranded but not ignored. I have my iPad. In business meetings, in cafés and restaurants, the iPad is, as I reported two weeks ago, an all-around ‘guy-and-chick magnet,'” Jean-Louis Gassée reports for CBS News. “Sit down, stroke the screen, and Parisians, not normally the outgoing sort, admire and strike up a conversation. Norway’s Prime Minister, stranded as well, used his iPad to govern remotely…très chic. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“I gave myself two weeks to form an opinion of the iPad. (And note well the my and opinion: I may let a fact sneak in here and there, but I intend to convey my personal impressions. As we say online: YMMV. You might come to a different conclusion.) I carried my brand new iPad everywhere, and I mean everywhere: From the smallest room in the house to the office, out to the coffee shop, into the 747 cabin and then on, to a magazine industry conference in Paris,” Gassée reports. “I wanted to know if this would come back to the pail after a fortnight. Call me a skeptic, but I’ve spent too much time inside too many sausage factories to trust a demo, (which is a first impression.)”

Gassée reports, “The iPad isn’t perfect but, for me, it’s more than good enough, and extrapolating from the iPhone trajectory since 2007 we’ll see a steady string of improvements, especially if competitors such as HP and (the now-disliked) Google spur Apple and drive investment and creativity. A final word…for Bill Gates. In 2001, he predicted that within five years, the Tablet PC would be the most popular form of PC sold in America. The timing was off, but he might end up being right, even if he might not enjoy the fruits of his vision… The iPad might be the real thing, finally.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Bill Gates predicted tablets running Windows would be the most popular form of PC. Therefore, not only was he wrong in the timing, but wrong in the OS. On top of that, Mr. Genius Prognosticator has said, as recently as this February, even after Steve Jobs showed him the iPad, that he still thinks “that some mixture of voice, the pen and a real keyboard – in other words a netbook – will be the mainstream on that.” In other words, unsurprisingly, Gates still doesn’t get it at all.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]