I'm about six weeks into the iPad experiment. It is interesting. Some things work really well; others, not so much. But it has changed my routine and, to some extent, aspects of the way that I work. The biggest gaps with the iPad are Flash and Java. This really only impacts some websites, but there are still quite a few websites built with Flash or Java. That's a pretty big issue and Apple really needs to think about that.
I'm getting to the point where I rarely take my laptop home. During the week, it is chained to my desk and my office is locked, so with a VPN connection and RDP, I can log in to the laptop remotely and pull off needed files or access internal websites if I can't get to them from the home PC. Work email on the iPad is wonderful for the most part. The biggest gap is that I can't immediately get to internal websites, but the ability to quickly open, read and respond to an email is terrific. It is far easier to read email on the iPad than on my Droid, and I thought the Droid had a great screen when I got it two years ago. Interesting how your expectations are modified over time.
If I'm working at home, I still need the laptop for IM and a keyboard. I'm looking at getting a bluetooth keyboard and perhaps a docking station. That might make it easier to work solely using the iPad. Also on the shopping list is a VGA adapter. I noticed some speakers using their iPads to deliver presentations and I downloaded Keynote because it is supposed to be the closest thing to PowerPoint.
The stylus was a good choice. It is easy to write with, although I haven't done a lot of writing. WritePad is great for handwriting recognition, although it takes a little getting used to.
Another gap is good integration with Office tools. It is hard to move notes from the iPad to my laptop. What I'd really like is for a Franklin Planner type of application to integrate with Outlook. A really full-featured planner app would be perfect. Supposedly Franklin is looking at doing just that, but I suspect the decline of the paper-based calendars limits their resources to develop a good app. I'm really surprised that they didn't start developing electronic apps sooner. Once upon a time, they had the market cornered on note-taking and planning. I know a few people who still rely on their paper systems, but those people are few and far between.
In the leisure side of things, my Kindle quickly was shelved. I'm a little disappointed there because it was only a couple months old. The Kindle is a great reading platform, but it isn't much more than that. You can do a few things, but it is not suited for much more than reading books. The Kindle app on the iPad is very nice and turning pages by tapping the screen is easy and natural. I find myself toting the iPad wherever I go. Watching football, I have the NFL app running to follow other scores. I will stop and look something up on the Web. Email is at my fingertips. I am watching TV in the easy chair more than I used to. Battery life is outstanding, although recharging does take a while.
I'd say that overall, the iPad is a game-changer. I have probably barely broken the surface of capabilities, but I'm gaining productivity in general. The price point is still high and the price per GB of storage capacity is still too high. I still think the sweet spot for tablets isin the $200 to $300 range, with economy models around $100. That will move them off the shelves. As long as a tablet is about the same pricepoint as a decent laptop (or desktop), it will be hard for most folks to justify the purchase. That said, they may be the right option for the older adult population that really just needs email and Internet access, with a few toys thrown in.
I'd like to see more security features, antivirus apps, and the aforementioned integration with Outlook calendaring. But it is very good.
More to come.