STEVE JOBS is a dangerous man. Beneath that unassuming geek exterior beats the heart of a champion, the eye of a tiger, the, uh... neck of a vicious snapping turtle. Every gadget he's unveiled over the last two decades has proven revolutionary, and last week's announcement of the iPad marks Apple's most ambitious stride ever. Buried beneath all those juvenile tampon jokes and devoted Apple fans toeing the iLine is a connection few seem willing to draw: The iPad will forever change the world of computer gaming.

This should surprise no one. Apple's been banging on the door of the gaming market ever since Tetris first appeared on the iPod. Jobs was laughed at when he said his tiny music player would compete with Nintendo's Game Boy—but in only a few years, we've seen iPod and iPhone games go from novelty to a multi-million dollar business. Developers, both indie and established, now view the innovative Apple Store publishing system as a viable alternative to pushing games on more established platforms, and the iPad will only further push people toward Apple's new world order.

Don't expect the iPad to immediately boast 70-hour roleplaying epics and the latest shooters—its hardware still can't compete with top-of-the-line computers—but sales of 99-cent gimmick titles on the iPhone prove that the mass market wants little more than cheap, 10-minute diversions. Epic games will still exist, but they'll be relegated to consoles—and since Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo have that segment all sewn up, what does that leave for Windows-based PCs? Flash games? Online roleplaying titles? If the iPod is any indication, it'll be two years before developers start creating games exclusively for Apple's new platform, with Windows versions being an afterthought.

Don't believe me? Come back in two years and we'll discuss it then. By that point, I expect I'll have to start penning weekly rants against Apple's draconian control of the iGaming development scene.