A halfway house. That's probably a pretty apt description.
Just like Chris said. It's kinda like a lightweight laptop. The big advantages for me are that it's:
- Light. I can haul it along anywhere I go easily.
- Instantly on. Like the iPhone, it's always on and ready.
- Does probably 80% of the stuff I need to do plus more. Sure, I still need my laptop for heavy lifting (Photoshop edits, development projects, etc.).
- On the other hand, the iPad does things well that my laptop can't. Reading books for instance.
Will it replace my laptop, no. Will it replace my iPhone, no. It's neither a phone nor a laptop. But it fills a gap for me that I always knew was there, but didn't have a piece of technology to fix it. Now I have that technology and it's marvelous!
If you want an overview, here's the link to the Apple videos outlining the capabilites of some of the various applications on it:
iPad guided tour videos
Is it perfect. Nope. There are things that need to be done differently on it. File handling as an example. But those things are controllable via software and I fully expect that as time goes on, those shortcomings will be corrected. Either by Apple or by third party developers.
Tom (... I really like this thing!)