Apple has apparently shipped 3 million iPads. You'll be aware of that because you read the papers, the blogs, the press releases - and Apple is brilliant at telling everyone when it has a hit (I don't remember getting so much information when it was pushing the Newton).

No doubt it'll be telling us how many iphone 4s it has shipped before too long, too, although there won't be one in my house until it catches up with itself for the quantities it needs to make. But let's stick with the iPad for the moment.

I bought mine on the day of release, mostly because I thought it would be insanity for a tech writer not to have one to play with. I stand by that. And I like it, I really do. But I have to ask myself: what have I actually done with it so far?

I've read a book. And some comics. I've put some music on it and listened to it because I can rather than because I thought it was an essential idea. I've watched bits of a television programme, changed my mind and put them onto the television instead (TV programmes, oddly, look better on TV than on an iPad).

I've done a bit of web surfing and yes it's more comfortable to look at than the iPhone screen. And I've played some games - Angry Birds is highly recommended, for example, as one of the most addictive games in the known universe.

Then I ask myself: if I hadn't thought I could make something out of writing about this gadget, would it honestly be worth the money? Because they cost a lot.

My answer is that it needs to come down an awful lot before it really represents value. I'm confident Apple would tell me that 3 million people can't be wrong, and they might well be right in that.

But I can't help thinking, at the 3m users mark, it's still a very expensive nice-to-have rather than an essential, for either business or leisure.

Dude, there is a reason Apple is selling a million iPads a month and can't keep them on the shelves. There is a reason the post-purchase satisfaction level is so high with this product according to surveys. It is simply a phenomenally good piece of kit, with a nearly infinite amount of uses. Few things are 'essentials' in leisure OR business. You could entertain yourself with a used, yellowed paperback book - knock yourself out. Use a clunky box mobile phone (our provider will give you one FREE with a two year plan). Bring a tired old workhorse notebook to your next business meeting - woo hoo! Both 'essential' and 'expensive' are very subjective terms. Your mileage may vary depending on *you*. We're certainly using our iPad.... a lot!

Thanks for responding. What are you usig it for?

Guy - Kind of a disjointed reply, but scratching the iPad surface, with things we use it for:
Reading RSS feeds (Reeder = killer info app on the iPad)
PDF's big time - annotating, reading, forwarding. iPad is a super PDF/reader. I bring whole PDF'd contracts to meetings and use search to instantly reference specific articles in discussion. Huge time saver.
Notetaking in meetings (audio, typing, handwritten) - when finished, press one button and the notes go to e-mail for editing, distribution. (app: Notability etc.). The iPad is far less obtrusive than a netbook.
For learning (am in higher education) - Flashcards Deluxe (you can learn anything with this app! Have recommended it to many students), Wikipedia is amazing on the iPad. iTunesU (looks great, download video-based courses directly), video podcasts etc., I view live streaming TV from all over the world (app: TVU player). I use dictionary apps a lot for translating.
Netflix! (Have been using a bluetooth stereo headset to watch while exercising at home) - great new stuff every week.
Quickoffice - excellent, combined with Dropbox (btw Dropbox is an absolute must have - will change the way you work), I use it daily for spreadsheets, editing docs.
Online shopping on the iPad works extremely well (alas) - we increasingly do this.
Photos! - nice surprise how well it works. Have been using photos to create presentations. (app: Photogene) Made comic strips for a class from photos using Strip Designer app.
We charge it by the bed and use for an amazingly flexible LARGE display alarm clock.
(the alarm is plenty loud and you can choose many different sounds with the app)
Using a Logitech Bluetooth speaker to broadcast Pandora, internet Radio etc. around the house from iPad. The album art which changes with each song is striking on a bigger screen.
There's more but that's in addition to the usual stuff: e-mail, the Web, calendar , reading ebooks, Picture frame etc.
On and on ...

Thanks so much for taking the time to post that. I'm delighted to have my cynicism challenged!

This is a great post. I like this topic.This site has lots of advantage. I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me many away..So i want some information for sharing this side with some of my friend. Thanks

Thanks so much for taking the time to post that. I'm delighted to have my cynicism challenged!