“Where’s the touchscreen computer?” a middle-aged woman asked me.

“What?” I asked. It was April 2009, and I was halfway through my shift at the Apple Store that day.

“You know, the touchscreen computer. I’ve seen commercials for it,” the lady insisted.

“Oh. HP makes that computer. We don’t sell that here…Apple’s touchscreen devices are the iPod Touch and the iPhone,” I replied. “Can I show you them?”

“No, no thank you. Do you know when you’re going to have a touchscreen computer?” the lady asked.

“I’m sorry, we don’t have any advance knowledge of new products or releases,” I explained.

“Oh.” And with that, she walked away.

The scene above was an almost-daily occurrence during my tenure at the Apple Store. People would badger us constantly about the mythical touchscreen computer, which was finally unveiled last week. (In case you were sleeping, check this out.)

The unbelievable demand for a non-existent product is what makes me snicker when reading this Windows7News post. Writer Mike Halsey argues that iPad’s lack of a 16:9 screen, touchscreen keyboard, $499 starting price and design will convince consumers to purchase Windows 7-based tablets and netbooks. Here’s our take, in convenient bullet-pointed form:

  • A 16:9 screen: People have been watching video on their iPhones and iPod Touches for years now. And even though David Lynch isn’t happy about this, the iTunes store is doing good business with sales of movies and television shows. It wouldn’t be surprising to see sales increase after iPad’s launch. Watching video on iPad (in landscape view, of course) will be an excellent viewer experience.
  • The touchscreen keyboard: That’s what you get in a touchscreen tablet computer. Halsey, however, managed to overlook the attachable keyboard Apple developed for iPad. (It’ll be fabulous with those iWork apps!) I still maintain my original stance; if you can learn to type on iPhone, you’ll be able to type on iPad.
  • The $499 starting price: This is practically a godsend for Apple consumers. It will make mobile computing more affordable, and provides a nice stepping stone between the iPhone/iPod touch and the entry-level MacBook. Halsey writes that higher price point will force more consumers to purchase Windows-based tablets, and that “It will help people move away from the troublesome Internet Explorer 6…” Give us a break. When you’re calling the Internet browser troublesome for the OS your website is BASED AROUND, you’re not fooling any of us.
  • The design: Dude, the new tablets and netbooks are plagiarizing Apple’s designs. Enough said.

Some last words from Halsey: “Let’s face it there are thousands of people who, if a device such as this had been available five years ago, would never have bought a full laptop. [sic]” You’re right, Halsey. This device is now available, and it’s called iPad.