What really is working up right now though it the amount of coverage that Apple are getting for being so "innovative" with their tablet device. Looking back at the history however reveals that Microsoft had this device in mind in the mid-to-early 2000's - it was called "Microsoft Origami" and it was designed to be the device in between the PC and the mobile phone.
Just watch this video:
All of the ideas that have gone into the "Apple iPad" were already realised and poised for implementation by Microsoft (bar possibly the eReader stuff - which doesn't appear in the video). The reason they didn't fulfil that potential? They were too busy re-writing Windows Vista in order to stay relevant on the desktop. They were also too busy fighting off Sony and Nintendo in the game and entertainment industry with XBox 360 and Project Natal.
As we discovered from Steve Balmer's keynote a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft still have an exciting future and plenty of new products that can compete in the pipeline - they just have to step up and deliver them.
I posted a video a while back demo'ing the "Microsoft Courier" - a dual touch screen notepad that is styled like a personal organiser or notebook. Its an ideal replacement for both - the differenciating element between the Courier and the iPad is the use of the stylus. Apple seem to favour the touch of the finger to perform every task, where Microsoft are much more broad minded and combine handwriting, voice control and touch -- it's a far more versatile device.
Right now my message to Microsoft is this -- stop with the prototyping and demo devices that showcase all of the major developments you have made, and get making these devices for those customers who really want them. The Origami concept didn't take off because the technology at the time let it down, but the ideas were all good with far more potential than possibly ever originally anticipated.
So, Microsoft - you've had your time to address the Windows Vista downturn, the sales of Windows 7 have returned Windows back from the dead, the XBox division is as popular as ever, the Zune is finally a music player people are willing to be seen and show off with and even launched Bing.com as a geniuine challenge and alternative to Google; now is the time to go back to those Origami concepts that have been forgotten, get the Cloud computing working, sort those mobile phone platforms out too and connect all of the devices together.
Microsoft - you've let me down on the tablet - but there is still time to fight back. Don't let me down again, as the slogan goes "Your Potential, Our Passion", don't forget your own potential Microsoft, ignite our passion for your devices and software -- please!