Two minor corrections.
* If Apple is using flash to advertise the iPad on their site, it must be a flavor of Flash my iPad and iPhone can understand ;)
* Apple iWork apps on the iPad are very serviceable substitutes for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and imminently more useful on any plane thanks to reduced space requirements (iPad fits on the traytable, even in micro-Economy) and extensive battery life. Not just a read-only device.
I think most people are confusing logical choice of smart accessorry with fashion accessory. Apple is a cool brand and will continue to sell its products despite obvious shortcomings and better value alternatives on the market. Apple knows through the history of its desktops and laptops that it can maintain high hardware margins through the development of a hardcore fanbase. DTP, graphics and music and video production "niches" developed for Apple allowing it to survive and thrive against the PC. Domination of the MP3 player market has given them the leverage to develop the iPod touch and phone, and now we have the iPad creating a huge stir because it's Apple and it's the latest "must have" cool gadget/fashion accessory. Incidentally I read a great comment from David Manners (Mannerisms) - if the iPad had come before the iPhone (or iPod touch) we would all have been lauding the new shrunken iPad.
I am a big fan of the iPad. All you need to do is try it to appreciate it's value and user experience.
Flash issues will be figured out. Before Apple and iPad came along, Flash was becoming challenged with crashes and performance issues and constant updates to users leading many large sites to swap with html5 code. I do hope that Adobe and Apple work out an arrangement for all netizens to enjoy mutual interoperability and functionality.
There is an Apple protective cover accessory that doubles up as stand or angled typing surface that makes typing very comfortable.
Many apps (some not free) will provide what PowerPoint does. Office will also have a web- based version.
I am reading and writing this on my iPad, in bed, holding it in mid-air but not feeling any discomfort. I could not do this before with any notebook or with the tiny smartphone displays.
Putting aside the debate on whether iPad is a useful consumer device, the tablet form factor (iPad or otherwise) may have a place in a corporate IT.
If one examines what an average corporate worker does with their standard issue computer (wi-fi laptop), primary uses are e-mail, database query through web interfaces, spreadsheet analysis, and report writing/presentation at desk and in meeting rooms. (I'm not talking about engineering workstations here.)
The cost per head of maintaining a laptop is pretty high due to software maintenance (security patches, virus scan, upgrades, etc.). A move to server-side apps with tablet clients could save corporate IT a lot of money, especially if integration of instant messaging and cellphone into tablet eliminates the need for desktop phone and pager/cellphone deployment as well.
All of this has nothing to do with the fact iPad doesn't support Flash.
With NO support for Flash I cannot justify buying an iPad. Ironically the Home page for Apple is using Flash to advertize the iPad, yet the iPad cannot run Flash.
Also, typing on a flat surface like the iPad creates neck strain.
To me the iPad appears to be a Read Only device, not something that I would create typed or graphical content with. Obviously the marketplace is voting loudly with over 200K units sold per week. I just don't get it.