I'm returning my iPad 3G, because there's not enough value for the investment, especially for techno-geeks like me that already have a lot of electronic toys.
Because I already have an iPhone, a Netbook, a Kindle and an aircard, most of the functionality of the iPad is redundant in my world, and $829 is a lot to pay for eye candy... no matter how spectacular.
THE E-READER: The e-Reader seems to be the most reviewed / evaluated feature of the iPad. Combined with the free iBooks application - iPad's version of the Kindle (purchase and download books) - the e-Reading feature is impressive. But the iPad is heavy and the the screen continually shifts from portrait to landscape to match one's body position. This is problematic when reading in bed. Also, the e-Reader landscape view is a two page view rather than one large page, and the heaviness of the iPad (for one who is used to the Kindle) makes it cumbersome and tiring to keep propped up. The iPad weighs as much as a hard cover book and is about as heavy as my Acer Netbook. For e-Reading, the kindle is not as bright and isn't in color, but it's lighter and more maneuverable.
Email, iTunes, Videos, and APPs: I have all these functions on my iPhone or Netbook. In fact, things that aren't ideal for viewing on the iPhone's small screen - books, newspapers, magazines, TV shows, movies - , work great on my Netbook. And my Netbook has more versatility with its traditional keyboard and its ability to play FLASH videos (apple products have banned FLASH).
Compatible with PC - you pay for additional compatibility: Some of the apps that mirror Microsoft Office, such as PAGES, Numbers, and Keynote, are nice to use, but I paid the $9.99 for the PAGES app, and found the finished product is not editable on my PC. My Netbook totally integrates with the PC. For any kind of text editing, I'd have to order the separate keyboard dock - $69. I can't type documents or presentations on the iPad touch keyboard.
Do I still need the iPhone? The iPad can't replace the iPhone because of the crucial need for a hand-sized phone and camera. There is a camera attachment, but let's face it, you can't pop the iPad and it's camera attachment into your pocket for a camera that is always "at the ready."
Watching TV shows, Movies and Videos on the iPad: I hate watching movies and TV shows on the iPad because I don't have a stand and holding the iPad while you watch is a pain - same reasons as holding the e-Reader; heaviness and shifting screen from portrait to landscape. Also the volume is not as loud as on the Netbook so headphones are a necessity.
3G Capability - Constant Internet Access: The iPad 3G allows the same internet connectivity as a cellphone. So where you have phone connectivity, you can connect to the Internet with the iPad. This, of course costs about $30 per month, but there is no contract necessary. I have an aircard for my Netbook that does the same thing. It's $60 per month, but the Netbook is more functional than the iPad, and it's lighter weight and more compact.
UNPARALLELED ADVANTAGES OF THE IPAD; The ability to view photos at high resolution, large (8X10) format is phenomenal. My pictures never looked so good and are very easy to share. The GPS feature shows maps much clearer with more visible space. Some of the apps (mostly reading apps) offer greater variety of printed free material - magazines, ezines, blogs. The touch screen is so quick and easy to use and is progressive looking.
For me ... are these visual benefits alone worth an $829 investment? Plus the keyboard dock ($69), a protective case ($20-$40) and monthly charge for 3G capability?
I'm thinking NO.
I purchased the iPad in Dover (DE has no sales tax) and saved on paying the 6% Maryland sales tax of $49. But Best Buy told me that I had only 14 days to return it, and there is a 15% re-stocking fee ($124). Seems a shame that it costs so much just to try it out. In a way, I hate to take it back, but I can't reconcile an $829 investment with a need to invest another $100 on the keyboard and case and possibly $30 per month for the 3G connectivity, when my $295 Acer Netbook and iPhone and aircard provide the same benefits without the impressive visuals and better photo viewer.
If I'm missing some great benefit, would somebody please share?
NOTE: Thanks to those that pointed out that there is a little button on the side that locks the screen in place. That problem solved. I still consider most of the benefits redundant... thus not worth the $829 price.