Got to play around with my mom's 3G iPad during the past week, and while it is a slick device, in the end, I was underwhelmed. The iPad is a giant iPhone with no camera and no phone.
The 3G aspect isn't useful at all unless you are willing to pony up $15 bucks a month for the right to connect to AT&T's network. Doesn't matter if you already subscribe to AT&T with your iPhone. And, to hear iPhone users complain about dropped or interrupted calls on a daily basis, it doesn't seem worth it.
Still, the iPad does have Wifi and it connects to Internet just like a netbook. But, once I connected to Yahoo, I had to enlarge the screen because the type was too small for me to read. This created an extra step just to read my e-mail.
Pictures and videos look great on the iPad. And, the e-book, which doesn't come pre-installed on the iPad, but is available for free via download, is awesome. In fact, as an e-book, it's the best there is, but at a minimum of $499, not to mention the cost of each e-book, it's ridiculously expensive. The iPad costs more than I've spent on books or magazines in the past five years.
Also, the iPad is awkward to hold and use. Buying a cover that doubles as a semi-stand helps. The on-screen keyboard is not fit for fast typing. Paying for a wireless keyboard with a stand turns the iPad into -- at more than twice the cost -- a netbook.
In the end, I'd rather get a netbook. They're light and far more useful than an iPad. Much cheaper, too.
But, a netbook is not an e-book. An iPad is not an iPhone and an MacBook is not a netbook.
It's all getting way too complicated.
But, you have to hand to Apple. It's now worth more than Microsoft precisely because it takes chances that Microsoft would never even imagine. The world needs Apple even if it doesn't really need all its products.