The iPhone was good for its time (aside for the lack of 3G and MMS at launch). The iTouch, even better. But the iPad? For the price of an iPad, you can buy a netbook, KEYBOARD INCLUDED. Also, so much screen estate is wasted by the bezel, and the least they could have done was add a front-facing camera. Here's how I see it, as an iPhone 2G owner and jailbreaker.
The iPhone is popular for three reasons:
a) It's a great media player
b) It has a large application base
c) It's an Apple product
Taking into account the first reason, I can say right off the bat that the iTouch should definitely be considered over an iPhone. The iPhone sucks as a phone, even if you unlock it and put it on T-Mobile or some other network (keep in mind it has AT&T 3G frequencies in the US, so EDGE only for T-Mobile). As a media player it's great though. Apple's way of doing this is deliberately leaving out the most common features at launch and putting them in their next iteration. This is how they get you hooked. For example, with something as big as 3G support, of course most people would hop from the 2G to the 3G and 3GS. Yes, you can jailbreak and add other features like MMS support and Video Recording on all models, but one shouldn't have to resort to that to get the most basic features. An iTouch maintains the core components of the iPhone OS, effectively turning it into a media player instead of a workhorse. It also maintains application support. Apple refuses to add a microphone and camera in the iTouch because they know people will shell out cash for an iPhone instead.
Second point. The iPhone and iTouch have approximately, what, 185,000 (correct me if I'm wrong) applications available for download? It's all circular logic. People buy the iPhone and iTouch because of the apps, and developers make the apps because people will buy the iPhone and iTouch. Something needs to break the cycle, which is what Google is attempting with Android. Yes, Apple has sleek interfaces built into its OS, but looking past that, you'll see you're really limited in what you can do. Adding Multitasking? Oh and 2G and 3G iPhones and respective iTouches can't support it? Please, I've had that for over a year now using Backgrounder and ProSwitcher:
They also talk about adding advertising, or "iAds" to applications to subsidize their prices. Come on Apple, really? We're not all poor, and we know that we can't all have everything we want either way. Applications are not that
expensive to being with. Also, the Push Notification system is complete garbage. It sucks up way too much battery to be useful, and even Apple recommends turning it off. All of these features or lack of features are what keep corporate entities using Blackberries, which are much more secure and suited for getting things done.
From an everyday-consumer's perspective, the choice of applications and features is heavenly. From a developer's side, it's hell. Not only does Apple have a tight grip over what APIs and tools developers can use, but they also have the ability to reject applications and ban them from the App Store for various ridiculous reasons. There's no way, aside from piracy, to test the apps you're interested in buying and there's no way to return them.
On to the third point, I don't really have to explain much. It's an Apple product, therefore it's almost inevitable people will burn their money to get their hands on it. Honestly, I think Apple screwed up with the iPad, not realizing that a person can do much more with a computer, or netbook at the very least. I also read somewhere that it only costs Apple $260 to build an iPad, so the inflation and profit are ridiculous. When Apple names their product after something from a MadTV parody, you know they've done something wrong. It's nothing more than an oversized-iTouch. If you want to argue that it has 3G, fine. Then it's an oversized-iPhone minus the phone.
What I'm trying to say is, there are much better things you can spend your money on.