Some people have asked on this list how Microsoft Surface was created and who worked on it, with specific inquiries into Bill Buxton. Bill has consulting on the project since about 2004 (About a year before he came into Microsoft. The principal folks in Microsoft that made the project a reality are guys named Andy Wilson and Steve Bathiche.
As Will Parker points out there is a large body of work from a number of companies and efforts that have focused on similar topics (The most notable and relevant perhaps being Philips under Irene Mccara Williams).
Will also brings up some very relevant and real issues with disruptive technology and one will have to presume that the initial partners in these efforts have perhaps pondered and solved these issues for the scenarios they are going to focus on for now and that new issues will arise that will require us to fundamentally rethink things we take for granted with existing computer and human interactions models.
I'll also agree that we are all critics from time to time but boy is this a self-destructive posture for this community to embrace on this board if we want to advance our profession and encourage our fellow peers to participate here.
IxD as a profession needs to embrace curiosity and although I'd suggest that new product announcements do need to be managed for mass audiences I'm certain that a majority of this board's members don't need to be spoon fed scenarios to understand the power and potential that new innovations can enable. In fact a cursory overview of mainstream media outlets and the blogosphere seem to indicate at least a passing interest in what Microsoft is doing with Surface and (gasp) even ponder that it might be ever so slightly...innovative.
As an IxD designer I think the onus is on US to determine how to embrace and leverage the intersection of market needs, technical capability and user needs and be curious and look outside of the obvious. For many, Microsoft Surface just does that. On a personal level it's probably the first thing I showed anyone in my family (wife and young children) about my work at Microsoft where they actually went, "Wow, that is cool and I want one."
I think a dialog among design professionals and peers is what the IxDA list does best (and was in fact the intent of IxDA). However this list doesn't feel like a very comfortable place for many due to the critical and judgmental nature of these discussions that occur on this board. Folks that work for Microsoft or on Microsoft products have thick skins and my commentary is really focused on how I think IxD professionals need to engage each other as peers in talking about our work (any work) that is worthy of mention on this board.
As I learn more about what I can share about Microsoft Surface I will share it here. I suspect that it might get mentioned in a few weeks at the UPA conference in Austin where Bill Buxton is speaking.