Just as the laptop and portability changed the face of computing over the last two decades, the iPad, and competitors who are quickly following in Apple's footsteps, marks the beginning of a new era in computing and deeper embedding of technology in our daily lives.
Paul Saffo, a forecaster who has explored the long-term impact of technology innovations, said that the iPad is as "important as the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984," which launched the graphical user interface and mouse to the masses.
What makes the iPad a potential game changer? Certainly, the size and light weight of the tablet-sized iPad, as well as the touch interface evolved from the iPhone, offer a more "personal" and convenient computing experience. But more important, the iPad and its underlying software have the beginnings of a platform for rich, interactive applications that changes how users interact with content.
Adapting the iPad application model is at the core of the launch of our first CBS News iPad application, which is available for free in the Apple App Store. Instead of clicking on Web pages with a mouse or touchpad, you use your fingers to navigate and interact with the content with swiping, dragging, scissoring and other gestures.
The CBS News iPad app brings you the latest news from CBSNews.com, with text, video, and photos, as well as content from "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric," "The Early Show," "48 Hours Mystery," "Sunday Morning," "Face the Nation," and "Up to the Minute." A separate "60 Minutes" iPad app is in the works. (CNET News is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.)
The CBS News app for iPad includes related content--text, videos and photo galleries--for each story, and one-touch social-networking features, which allow users to share stories with friends and colleagues via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter.
The front page of the CBS News app has two viewing experiences. In portrait mode, users can browse headlines with images and related thumbnail photos, or use the app in landscape mode, which provide a quick, mostly text view of top news, videos, popular news galleries, and Twitter messages.
Other features include the option to save articles for offline viewing, searching news by content type, weather targeted by location, stock look-up and an easy-to-browse section for CBS News and CBSNews.com programs online.
Stay tuned for updates as we evolve our iPad application and develop apps for emerging tablet devices. CBS News is also available on the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Symbian platforms.
This story originally appeared on CBSNews.com.