At first glance, the iPad seems to resemble a gigantic iPod Touch. From the traditional iPod Touch/iPhone apps (contacts, calendar, notes) to the overall user interface, it's quite similar (and it runs the iPhone OS - 3.2, to be exact). The defining difference here could be the partnerships that the company has forged in order to make the iPad the best it can be.
As a direct competition to Amazon, Apple partnered with Penguin, Macmillan, Simon & Shuster, Harper Collins, and Hachette Book Group to stock their iBooks (funny - it wasn't too long ago that "iBook" referred to a product in their lineup) application. Resembling a virtual bookshelf, iBooks allows users to download e-books to the device.
New York Times
The newspaper has developed an application for the iPad, with the goal of capturing "the essence of reading a newspaper." Inline video clips, synchronization to your iPhone - yep, it's all there.
Gameloft and Electronic Arts
The iPad supports popular games such as Need For Speed Shift and Nova. Needless to say, Apple's 1 GHz A4 processor gets the job done. Pretty impressive.
I've always had a hard time justifying the tablet niche, just like I've found it challenging to justify the netbook market. Any time I've looked at a piece of mobile technology costing more than $300 (with the exception of cell phones), I've always defaulted to a cheap laptop. They offer much more bang for the buck, in my book. That being said, I can understand why someone would want one of these - and admittedly, I'm considering an iPad. After all, it offers an easy way to browse the internet and perform basic mobile tasks without lugging out the laptop.
My problem? The lack of multitasking. As if it doesn't annoy me enough on the iPhone, having a tablet computer that's unable to perform more than one task at a time would inevitably get on my nerves. And the fact of the matter is that deep down, most of us are multitaskers. Perhaps it's counterproductive in the long-term, but I find myself annoyed when I can't multitask. I like listening to Pandora while browsing the internet. Based on what we gathered today, the iPad won't offer such functionality (barring any software updates between now and launch day).
So, what about you? Is it worth the money to pick one up and give it a go? What will you do? I'm curious to hear from you, because at the end of the day, you and I will either make or break the Apple iPad.