This isn't a review of the actual iPad device since, like 99.9% of people, I don't have one yet. Whether or not I get one now, later (after gen 2 appear) or never is yet to be seen. The review by people who's opinions I trust and respect is impressive and I do believe that some form of multitasking is in the offing with a later OS upgrade, remember how long it took for 'cut and paste' to appear?
What seems to be really obvious is that the iPad has been aimed less as a MacBook or even netbook replacement, but rather as an all-in-one content consumption device and that where the rub lies.
For me, at least, to be truely useful a content consumption device needs to be able to download content when I'm away from my 'mother ship', i.e. my home PC. That the iPad will do that is unquestionable, however, what happens when I need to delete content to load more (I agree with most that the 16 gig model seems to be the 'sweet spot') ? I'm referring to downloading movies/books to the unit for trips (I'm a road warrior and have spent weeks away from home in the recent months in hotel rooms etc.). If, while getting ready to board the plane, I realize that I forgot to reload a book I wanted to read again what happens? On a Kindle or Nook the content is a few button pushes away since the companies who provide the content keep a record of my purchases and let me redown load them at will, on the iPad it seems I'm out of luck. Likewise if I load up on 3 or 4 movies while on the road and then decide to remove them to make room for more unless I wait until I get back I've lost the content forever (this is based on past experience with my iPod touch, audio books downloaded and then deleted from the device before syncing cannot be reloaded later unless I repurchase them or go crying to Apple that I deleted the content by mistake). For Apple to maintain a user database of purchases via the device is something they've proved that they can do easily since an app bought on a Touch or iPhone can be deleted and then redownloaded without being charged again. For them to extend this to to their music/audiobook/e-book/movie library would not seem to be too far of a stretch especially in these days of wifi enabled devices. This is especially true for people who are not 'tech savvy', right now the iPad seems to be a great device for people who don't want a pc/iMac but rather just a simple device to do e-mail, browse the web and consume content. If the iPad needs to be synced to a PC/iMac to save the content the advantage for them is lost. This came home to me with my mother, I'd given her a Kindle and she called me one day in a panic saying that she'd accidentally deleted a book, I told her don't worry, talked her thru the content manager and got her book back with all the bookmarks intact. On an iPad, at least for right now, I'd have to tell her she's out of luck and would need to repurchase the content if she hadn't synce to a local computer.
Please be clear, I'm not asking Apple to store content I've purchased elsewhere (Audible, recordedbooks.com etc.) nieither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble do that either, but rather allow for the iPad to become a device that, with the exception of OS updates, might NEVER need to be synced to a computer. This, in my opinion would make the device an ideal content consumption unit.