2. I will also bring my netbook. When I watch movies on the airplane, it'll be on the netbook. I'm right now working my way through an excellent series about World War II, produced in 1974. I have AVI files. It isn't worth the trouble to re-process the files so I can watch them on the iPad. (I may buy a movie in the iTunes store to see what it's like. Thinking of getting Fantastic Mr. Fox, which I saw in theaters, three times. It's one of those movies, like Fargo and The Big Lebowski that gets better as you watch it more times.)
3a. I could have loved the way news works on this thing, if the NY Times and been willing to ship a beautiful reverse-chronologic view of their whole news stream. They chickened out with a little mini-dip-into the stream. It's like sipping the news from an espresso cup when I want to be inundated by Niagara Falls. (I said to Derek Gottfried this evening that the motto of the Times is "All the news..." not "A teentsy taste of news..." A company whose mission was news and who was clear on that mission could never have shipped so little news. But then Apple is supposed to be a company that loves computers. See the next section on iTunes.)
4. iTunes is a crazy way to connect something as powerful as this device to local resources. A nightmare. Whoever thought up this way of doing things hates users. It's as mean as anything Microsoft ever foisted on its customers.
5. As explained in the excellent Engadget review, I am one of those people who use a few apps in my work. They all run on my Asus, most of them don't run on the iPad. And even if they did, they can't run at the same time on the iPad, so for my work, the machine isn't a fit. The usual fanboy rebuttal is that it is not designed for what I do. Absolutely correct.
6. However, I have a mind and a lot of experience using computers, and designing software for them, and helping people use them. I also work with people who are not very deeply skilled in computer technology, exactly the kind of people this product is supposedly for. It won't work for them, because they need to multi-task too. We learned a long time ago that inexpert users don't use less resources, they just use them differently. The argument that the Mac wasn't a serious computer was nonsense. I was there when all these arguments were fresh. This is not a replay. Keep dreaming if you want, but if you give the iPad to your mother expect the light to go on for you. At that exact moment you will realize how poorly prepared it is for that.
7. I'm going to demo it for my mother tomorrow. I expect to wow her with the map application. But in so many ways it could not replace her Mac, although her Mac is terribly inadequate and confusing, with so many layers of contradictions. Too bad this product is so far from being able to replace it for her. I am, however, going to keep trying to get her to try an iPhone.
8. I promised a verdict, so here it is. With the caveat that it's after one day and I reserve the right to change it at any time: Today's iPad, the one that I just bought, is just a demo of something that could be very nice and useful at some point in the future. Today it's something to play with, not something to use. That's the kind way to say it. The direct way: It's a toy.