So I tried an iPad...
Last Thursday, as I do every Thursday, I went over to my boss' place. After a three-week(!) wait he finally got his iPad, so of course I took the opportunity to try it out.
I feel the best way to try out new tech stuff is to use the whatever-it-is outside the retail environment. This way you see the thing in its "natural" environment, so to speak. It's not cleaned up, it's got fingerprints on it, it's not purposely connected to the in-store network for maximum speed, etc. In other words, it's how you would ordinarily see it in real-world use.
The iPad is decently built and looks nice of course. On-screen typing was relatively simple.
My overall opinion of it? It's okay. Is it groundbreaking/revolutionary/etc.? Not really. There were a few annoyances I noticed about it right up front.
On-screen keyboards are tolerable at best.
This is true for any touchscreen device and the iPad is no different. While the iPad does its best to provide the best possible software-based keyboard, it still cannot replace the feel of real keyboard keys. The best way to use the iPad's keyboard is by rotating it physically so it goes into "wide" mode. I also noticed slight wrist pain after using it for less than 5 minutes.
Yes, it is nothing more than a big iPod Touch.
When using this thing it just feels like a big iPhone without the phone, i.e. an iPod Touch with a much larger screen. With something that has a larger screen like this, you expect it to do more. It doesn't. What's on the iPod Touch is what's on the iPad, period.
iPad in reality is nothing more than a really expensive e-reader.
iPad is not a phone, nor is it a laptop/netbook. It has a mobile OS and optionally uses a 3G network, yet it can't make calls. It can display photos and videos but can't take them like a phone can. It can browse the web but due to the mobile OS limitations can't run fully-enabled browsers like a laptop/netbook can.
At the end of it all, the iPad is nothing more than an e-reader, and an expensive one at that. It has absolutely no practical purpose otherwise. The iPod Touch is better for gaming and has more apps available. A laptop/netbook (or Macbook) can run much more stuff and act exactly like a desktop computer can.
Oh, and let's not forget when you see word "pad", you assume you could, y'know, write on it with a stylus or something. iPad can't do that, so even the title of the product is misleading.
After sitting down with one and using it, will I buy one?
Answer: I have no need for a $500 e-reader.