The iPad was supposed to be Apple's revolutionary new product, the one that would make tablets palatable to the masses. Instead, it's a product that falls into all the old tablet pitfalls while adding some new ones into the mix.
Think about who this is for: people who want a cheaper, less powerful computer for multimedia and internet use. Netbook customers, essentially. But it can in no way compete with most netbooks, which on average cost about half of the average iPad.
First of all, there's that keyboard. How are you supposed to type on this thing if you aren't sitting on a couch propping it up on your knees? You need to rest it on a flat surface and look right down at it, which is just awkward.
Secondly, the software. This is basically a big iPod Touch. OK, it's exactly like a big iPod touch. But that means there's no multitasking, which means you can run exactly one app at a time. Uh, what? Think of how you use your computer: you probably have a half dozen applications open right now, from a browser to a Twitter app to an IM client to a feed reader. You can't do that on the iPad. Single-app functionality is tolerable for a phone-sized device, but when we're getting into netbook territory it's inexcusable.
And third, the price. Sure, for $499 it's not too bad a deal, but that's the cheapest model. Want 3G access? That's $130 more. A larger storage device? Even more. So you're looking at more like $700, then. A netbook, on the other hand, will set you back about $300 or less. And it'll run real programs, all at once! And you can type on a real keyboard!
Look, I'm not saying tablets won't have their day. Apple is notorious for their first-generation products being expensive and lacking features. Just look at the original iPhone: it was $600 and had no 3G or apps. The current crop of iPhones will set you back $200 and are just so much better. The same thing will happen here.
So in three years, maybe the latest iPad will be awesome. But as a first-generation product, I'll be staying as far away from it as possible.