Good question! And as I hear a lot of answers that seem based on tests more or less realistic, I’ll share mine.
First, I must say that I’be been using an iPad (with 3G) since last August. The initial idea of getting iPads was purely for demonstration of our work (and even that was only to show pictures and videos of our work done in Flash!). Whether through casual encounters or during a trade show, we thought it would be very useful to rapidly illustrate what we were talking about, without having to start an application, navigate through the OS, to risk having error messages, etc.. Result? Very positive! We do find (after a few months and three trade shows) that the iPad does the job!
In addition, the iPad is a very useful tool… for what it does best: consume information. I must say that I also have an iPhone and a MacBook Pro, and a shared data plan. The three complement each other (and sync) very well. And after a few weeks of use, I quickly realized that the iPad could do more, the trick is to always keep in mind its limitations.
Of course I used it to check my email, my calendar and my contacts, but I quickly got used to take notes freehand with a very simple App, Penultimate, in conjunction with a soft tipped pen (Griffin – http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/stylus). There is of course an enormous amount of applications available, which makes it difficult to choose the ones you “really” need.
Some criticize the lack of features, such as a USB port, a keyboard, a video camera, telephone, etc., etc., etc.. The reality is that there will always be room for criticism, human nature being what it is. No tools (even the Swiss knife) is capable of doing everything. We’re moving to a new era of streamlining functionalities. Whether buying one song at a time instead of a CD, or purchase an App that does little but does it very well, it seems that many of us appreciate simplicity over versatility. I would like one day be able to buy only the portion of a software that interests me instead of having to buy all of its features.ç
Like it or not, the iPad changed the world. And we’re already seeing how other manufacturers will flood the market with their vision of what should be an electronic tablet. Ultimately, I sincerely believe that yes, the iPad is worth its weight in gold. And I look forward to seeing the next generations.