It won't be in consumers' hands for another 60 days or so, but at today's Apple spectacle in San Francisco I got a chance to put the future of seemingly everything — video games, books, The New York Times — in my very own two hands. Our dalliance was brief, as there was a huge crowd of other eager test-drivers behind me, but it certainly helped to connect reality with the the mind-blowing presentation Steve Jobs gave — truly, the possibilities of the new Apple product were almost too much to process during the presentation — and it looks to be a very promising and exciting addition to the iEverything family.

I checked out Scrabble, a couple of YouTube videos, the Ted Kennedy autobiography that will be available in the new iBookstore — and I'll tell ya, moving into a world where virtual things are both lifelike and life-size is nothing short of amazing. Yes, like much of the advance hype said it would be, it is in some ways like an over-sized iPod Touch: everything works off a very intuitive touch screen (i.e. so flipping a book page is very much like flipping a real book page; sorry Kindle!) and sizing and resizing video to fit snugly and appear crisp and clean on the 9.7-inch IPS display is pretty awesome. The weight (a pound and a half) doesn't feel much heavier than the hardcover edition of Game Change I am currently reading, and the half-inch thickness rests even more nicely in two hands. And, I will be the first to report, the homepage jumps off the page. Or screen. Or the combo between the two that I was looking at.

For more on the technical specs, check out Margaret Lyons' excellent earlier post. She asked me to handle the "touchy-feely" side of things, which at the outset of the event we both thought might just be about the geeky emotions a Steve Jobs-led shindig would evoke. But thankfully I got to do to the touchy-feely part literally with the iPad, if even for a few minutes.

I certainly look forward to spending a lot more time in the future with the iPad. But for now the glimpse of that future I got today is very clean, clear, intuitive…and yes, bright.

Not yet sent from my iPad — but hopefully soon!