*Usefulness Not Included.
Of course I'd be a bad nerd if I didn't have anything to say on the topic of the iPad. It's probably a little late to jump in, but here's what I think.
As a college student who just got a netbook (love it!), I know a little about portability-related goodness. As a general dork who thinks about gadgets a little too often, I know a lot more about what I want in a device. Since this thing is allegedly a new category of device and it's supposed to be ultra-portable, it seems appropriate that I chime in.
The first allegation about the iPad is that's an overgrown iPhone, what with the structure and the unitasking and such. I agree that it is very similar, with one caveat: I would never want a phone this big and expensive-looking. Friends of mine have expressed that they would be interested in an ipad with phone functionality, but when posed with the situation of walking in a bad neighborhood and needing to call a taxi, they get antsy and say they would want to use a normal cell phone or even a pay phone.
So, the device fails as a phone because you will get mugged for it and because it's too big and unwieldy.
The second allegation is that the iPad is a fancy peripheral and not a stand-alone computer. As a netbook owner, I've heard this before, and I actually have a snazzy set of peripherals for it (mouse, keyboard, external hard drive and disk drive, and my tv actually doubles as a monitor), but the only peripheral I use regularly is the mouse. Sometimes I'll hook it up to the monitor when people want to watch youtube videos in a big group, but that's pretty rare.
Since one of the biggest complaints I've heard on the iPad is the lack of a kickstand to make it into a proper monitor, I'm already inclined to agree. On hearing how awkward it is to hold and use the keyboard, or to lay it flat while trying to type and look at the screen at the same time, that's a big ten-four. It's also my understanding that it hurts your neck if you try to place it on your lap and it's too heavy to hold up to eye-level for an extended period of time. As far as I know, it doesn't even have USB ports to connect these things, so you'd need something to convert the standard apple device charging port into usbs, which is ridiculous.
It sounds like a pain in the neck (hah!) to use and that it definitely needs something else to make it tolerable. With that in mind, I know that I wouldn't want one as my main computer, while my netbook serves that purpose just fine.
Flash Support! This is just ridiculous. I recently got a firefox app that would block everything using flash and give me the option to activate them or not, as a trick to save RAM. This exercise, in addition to freeing up my RAM, has drawn to my attention that flash is everywhere. I would be so irritated to not be able to see flash.
This is a no-brainer, and given its prevalence, Flash is not going away very soon: certainly not by the time they come out with a 2nd generation iPad.
Price. People who can afford to have 2+ computerish devices per person and already have smart phones and mp3 players and psps and such will buy this. People who can afford one computer per person or per household will not, because it is not sufficiently useful and is not particularly unique.
My overall assessment is negative, in case you hadn't caught on to that by now. I may make a post at some point about my ideal portable device, but this certainly is not it, for reasons of size, lack of function, and unnecessary flashiness.
In conclusion, bring it on, apple fanboys.