Ben Bajarin:

This product signifies in my mind a blank slate of possibilities for personal computing. The iPad is truly a blank slate of opportunities for the future of computing. In fact, it is not by accident that this image is used in Apple’s marketing of the iPad Air and that the iPad Air is metaphorically being compared to a pencil.
If you saw this ad and just thought the pencil was there to show the scale of the iPad in terms of size you missed the big picture of this ad. The pencil, or any writing utensil, is all about possibilities. Before computers, typewriters, printing press and other technological innovations the pen and pencil were for centuries the key innovation for many societies which helped them progress.

Ben is spot on and I’ve been piping this horn for some time.

The iPad is an “I Can” device. Whatever the task, wherever the task, the iPad is capable of getting the job done. And this is more so the truth than a notebook. Notebooks just don’t have the portability necessary to be an “I Can” device. Only the iPhone comes close to the iPad's level of utility.

If anything, the iPad is one of the most empowering tools ever created. As Ben explains, we will only see this empowerment grow over time.

You can read my iPad Air review on my personal site. I'll try and incorporate it into The Newsprint shortly.