I admit that I was the first person to trash Apple's iPad.
"It's just an iPod TouchXL!"
"It can't do flash!"
"It's closed hardware/software!"
But, as with most gadgets Apple creates, I drank the cool aid one more time and made the purchase.
Having only been using it for about 4 weeks now I can safely say that, while some of those arguments are indeed correct, it doesn't do the gadget any real justice.
"It's just and iPod TouchXL!" This was my main argument against getting one, and it is fundamentally a correct statement. It does share many of the features of the iPod touch and, if you have one, there might not be much of a reason to go BIG. There are plenty of iPad only apps though that are particularly useful for tasks specific to what the iPad is trying to replace (netbooks). iWork on the iPad is a treat. Though it isn't ideal for complicated word processing, Pages on the iPad does the trick for typing out ideas, quick notes on the fly, and editing documents on the go. What really shines here is Keynote. Apple has been perfecting Keynote since it's inception, trying to create the better MS Powerpoint and, with the iPad version especially, they've succeeded. Slide presentations on this device look gorgeous: transitions are awe-inspiring, creating slides is intuitive and has a natural "Crafty" feel to it, and (coupled with the iPad VGA adaptor) allows you to present directly from the iPad while allowing you access to your notes.
I focused on iWork, but there are plenty of other great apps made specifically for the iPad that allow it to shine past it's "iTouchXL" moniker.
"It can't do flash!" This has pretty much been the bane of the iDevices existence. They offer no real solid workaround for showing flash videos that aren't linked to youtube. . . period. This posited no real threat to my person internet experience (as most of the sites I visit link to youtube) but I can see this as a barrier for the willing buyer. Keep in mind, however important flash is now, .html5 will make it unneeded in the near approaching future, most sites currently utilizing it to make them "iPad friendly".
"It's closed hardware/software!" This is the one argument that I still have against the device. Some will argue that it weeds out "trash apps", but not necessarily. "Trash apps" still exist on the device, just ones approved by Apple, which remains my main concern. As much as I like Apple (oh, and I do) , I don't like the fact that they ultimately decide what I can and cannot do on a device that I paid for. Also the fact that Apple has very subjective criteria on denying apps is utter B.S. What one person may find offensive, another may find entertaining. If I want to watch porn on my iDevice, I should be able to. If I want to eviscerate noobs on an ultraviolent/offensive game on my iDevice, I should be able to. Ultimately Apple should let the consumer decide what they want on their purchased item.
All in all it is a fine device with limitations. As long as you're willing to accept those limitations (and all tablets have their limits) you will thoroughly enjoy one, but be aware that they are making a new one for release this fall(?). Me? I'll go back to playing Angry Birds HD.