I was going to post something pithy but then I remembered which site I was on.
What is about you Brits? Too much inbreeding? Maybe stupid is hard wired into your DNA...
To set the record straight - The iPad IS NOT A LAPTOP/NETBOOK REPLACEMENT. It is primarily a 'content consumption' device, not a 'content creation' device.
The iPad really is a game changer. Not because it has changed the way we interface with a computer (finger vs mouse) but because it has changed the fundamental concept of computing, and some people can’t deal with this at all. Up until now computers have been primarily designed to create content. Whether it is writing a document, creating a spread sheet or designing graphics, most computers have been built with creation in mind. The very layout of the keyboard, mouse trackpad, usb ports etc all stem from a need to create (or modify content). The thing is though, over the last few years, people have spent more time on their computers consuming content rather than creating it.
Since the advent of internet video and social networking, people have been consuming media more than they have been creating it. People are using their computers more for browsing the web, getting e-mail, going on Facebook, downloading music and watching videos. Some manufacturers recognised this early and though the answer was to make cheaper laptops (i.e. Netbooks) but they are still devices designed primarily for creating content.
The iPad on the other hand flips the whole equation around. The tools you don’t need to consume content get out of the way. The keyboard gets out of the way when you don’t need it, which in the consumption first view of computing the keyboard is less important than the information you are consuming. Even being able to rotate the screen makes a huge difference. You’re no longer confined to reading information in the less comfortable landscape format, and instead can use the more natural feeling portrait orientation. This alone is something that you would never do sticking to traditional metaphors.
While you certainly can create on the iPad, Apple has designed the device around the consumption model. It’s what many people want. Other manufacturers have seemingly failed to grasp that simple concept. People making competing tablets, such as the HP's Slate (now discontinued until it gets a new OS) will think that this is a limitation of the iPad and try and shoehorn the existing “create first” metaphor of traditional computing into a device designed for consuming media. That’s why it will fail. That’s what’s so big about the iPad. IT has changed the whole paradigm of computing.
The nay-sayers are concerned that the iPad will replace laptops and desktops and the future of computing will be closed. But traditional computers won’t go away any time soon, nor should they. For years we’ve been promised the future in science fiction of digital versions of everything from books to newspapers. In these visions of the future the devices were always designed as readers and viewers. Never did you see ports, cameras and mice hanging off them. You can’t tinker with a book or a magazine. You can’t programme a dvd player so why then is it a big deal that you can’t develop on a device that fulfils the age long sci-fi dream of bringing traditional consumption into the digital realm.