The iPad is too heavy; that extra half-a-pound makes a big difference in many configurations. The screen is too bright for low-light conditions even with the brightness cranked all the way down. Generally, it’s hard to get comfortable with the device, even with a decent case. Typing more than a tweet is un-ergonomic and painful. Plus, most of the really nicely designed software for iPad currently doesn’t handle over-the-air/cloud sync, including Apple’s own iWork apps. That makes juggling an iPad, a mobile device, and a personal computer a major hassle. (Yes, Dropbox is great, but it’s not currently a solution to this problem. That’s up to developers, and to Apple.)
All good points.
But I take issue with this:
[…] I found myself reaching for my laptop and phone often enough that owning a largely redundant $800+ device for occassional use seems frivolous.
A lot of people make the error of judging the iPad as an $800+ device because you can get one for that, or they judge it with the costs of every accessory and AppleCare, and then they compare it to the 13” MacBook Pro that’s only $1200.
But the 13” MacBook Pro, decked out with RAM, max disk storage (not even getting into SSDs), AppleCare, and a few cables and adapters costs about $2300.
It’s unfair to compare the decked-out price of the iPad to anything unless the iPad is barely functional without the specified options, but that’s not the case.
My iPad isn’t an $800+ device: it’s a $543.29 (with tax) device with a simple $21-shipped sleeve.
For my $564.29, I’m getting most of the same value out of my device as if I had paid $782.03 for the same setup with the 64 GB capacity. Actually, since it doesn’t make sense for me to put my entire collection of media on the iPad, I’m actually getting the same value. Your mileage may vary, but I bet you could be very happy with the $499 iPad or the $629 Wi-Fi + 3G model.