This started as a comment in reply to Scott's comment on the last post. I began to ramble on (as is typical for me), and after a while, it just seemed too long for a comment so I put it up here.
People have often asked me, "I'm getting a new computer; what should I buy?" Problem is, the people that really can make use of a computer usually already know what they want. So, the people who are coming to me for advice are people who can't really explain what they even want a computer for or what their needs might be. For most of those people, I flippantly reply "WebTV", "Typewriter", or in some cases, "Etch A Sketch". The only genuine component to my reply is that they should just buy a computer from whomever has the best phone support, meaning whoever's going to take their phone calls when they can't figure out where all these new toolbars came from or why the computer that they over-specced to somehow be "future-proof" is now running so slow. I sure as heck ain't taking those calls.
Whenever anybody like that asks me about a computer again, I will completely absolutely seriously reply "iPad" from now on. 99% of the people in that situation would be best served by an iPad. It's not an issue of something else being more than they need. It's more an issue of something else being a downright hostile user experience for them.
This kind of thing would be perfect for my mother. Or my mother-in-law. Or my sister-in-law who just spent large amounts of money on a laptop but literally only does 2 things with it: MySpace and watching Robert Pattinson movies. Or my aunt. Or my uncle. You get the idea.
I think specifically of my Dad who I don't really trust with a TV remote, let alone a computer. He accidentally erases the contacts on his phone every other week because he can't find the one number that he knows he saved somewhere but accidentally got saved to "SIM Card" instead of "Internal Mem". He got an iPod touch for Christmas and he loves it. More importantly, he uses it. He can figure out how to make it work and how to do things with it. It's downright amazing. He could totally use an iPad and be a web surfing emailing internet using fool.
The more I think of it, the more I think that Apple is not trying to shoehorn a device between the computer and the phone. I really think that they are out to replace the personal computer entirely for a huge segment of the market. And, more power to them. I've long thought that the computer was the wrong tool to choose for millions of people, but there really wasn't another tool that they could choose instead for their particular needs. This is the first real alternate choice there.