I'll walk you through everything I used my iPad for today (although my usage patterns are likely to change, as I get used to it and the app ecosystem starts to fill in some gaps):
* Went to my first class. Attempted to (audio) record the lecture, and failed. This is one of the gaps in the App Store I mentioned
Evernote is apparently limited to 20 minutes, and there's not much else available right now.
* Went to work. Demoed our (internal) iPhone app running on the iPad. It's (describing it vaguely as it's not public) a research prototype of a mapping application. It makes a nifty demo on the iPhone, but it's beautiful on the iPad's larger screen.
Simply put, the iPad makes maps "come alive" (so to speak) in a way that neither paper maps nor maps in a web browser are capable of doing (and this runs counter to the opinion of one of our human factors researchers here... going to meet with her tomorrow;
should be interesting).
* Worked for a while (not on the iPad). Used the iPad for email as emails came in-- the iPad puts my three email accounts in one easy-to-access place (not that I couldn't do this with either of my regular computers, but I prefer to keep those machines
connected only to my work email; the iPad (and my iPod Touch) accesses both work and personal email).
* Went to second class. Used iPad for web browsing while waiting for class to start. Discovered I didn't have a printed copy of one of the papers we were going to discuss in class-- pulled up the paper on my iPad for reference during the discussion.
After class, used the calendar application to make a note in Google Calendar that we would not be having class next week.
* Went home. Surfed the web for a bit. Started up my desktop, and that's where I am now-- for now, I'm using the iPad the same way I was earlier; primarily serving as an auxiliary device while doing actual work on a desktop PC. I've got a paper to read
through later-- I'll probably do that on the iPad rather than on paper because it's pretty lengthy.
And, after relatively heavy use today, it's still sitting at about 62% battery life. Can't do that with my netbook-- my Mini 12 has to be recharged after about 5 hours of heavy use.
This isn't to sell you on the iPad, or even to convince you that the iPad is something you need to have-- as a student, I have relatively unusual usage patterns for these types of devices. But, for my use, the iPad fits just about perfectly-- better than
my netbook (which browses the web acceptably, but pukes when encountering Flash/Silverlight content and couldn't play a game more complicated than Windows XP's Solitaire) and better (for how I'm using it) than a full-size laptop (which is heavy and doesn't
last anywhere near as long). There are still a few cases where the netbook's better (remote desktop, SSH+X11, and the few Windows apps that actually run well on the thing), but the iPad does
most of what I was actually using the netbook for... but a lot faster and smoother.
remote desktop, SSH+X11
Even those you could do on the ipad through apps, though I never used either so not sure if they would replace the windows netbook in that regard.