In his Fall Guide on how to pick your next computer, Walt Mossberg (of the Wall Street Journal and All Things D) gives the iPad a solid but qualified recommendation. In the Tablets vs Laptops section of his piece, he says this about the iPad:
If you’re looking for a light-duty, highly portable computer, it’s worth considering the iPad, which starts at $499, instead of a small laptop. This is especially true if you’re in the market for a secondary computer, or one mainly for use on the go. Many owners of iPads, including me, are finding it handily replaces a laptop for numerous tasks, such as Web browsing, email, social-networking, photos, video and music. It has superior battery life, lighter weight, and it starts instantly. I don’t recommend it for people who are creating long documents, especially spreadsheets and presentations, even though it is capable of those tasks. And I don’t recommend it for users who require, or prefer, a physical keyboard.
I agree with most of that, though I have happily worked on long presentations in the Keynote app, and would argue that there are ways to work effectively on long documents as well.
You can check out Mossberg’s full ‘Fall Guide: How To Pick Your Next Computer’ article here: