Like John Gruber says, the iPad is a remarkably fast gadget. (The only thing that seemed less than near-instantaneous about it during my time with a unit today was the speed of the Wi-Fi–which is the one thing that Apple has the least control over.)
Gruber raves about the Apple-designed A4 chip at the heart of the device and says it looks to be the best mobile processor in the world; I wanna get a better sense of the real-world battery life before I come to any conclusions on that front. And presumably the fact that the iPhone OS was written for slow CPUs and is now running on a fast one is a major contributor to the overall sense of speed.
But if you’ve got $499 to spend on a secondary computing device and are trying to decide between an iPad and a netbook, the sheer zippiness of the iPad is going to be a major point in its favor.
I’m already having visions of the Stevenote in which Jobs explains to us why Apple is moving Macs from Intel chips to Apple’s own CPUs…