Why it will succeed
- The iPad will crush the Kindle market. It's cooler, slicker, has a color screen and will have thousands of apps at lau nch. While people can read books and newspapers the bulk of the interesting content is on the web and the web is much better on the iPad then the Kindle.
- The iPad will crush netbooks. It's a more portable experience and it's touch enabled. The keyboard is close to full size. The apps are designed to be portable unlike a netbook where you're trying to use full size apps on a 1/2 size screen. Netbooks are underpowered from a performance standpoint to run typical productivity apps (Office.)
- The computer has traditionally been in the office or the den. This is a move into the living room. If the phone is a communication device and a laptop is for creating content then the iPad is for consuming it and that hasn't existed before.
Why it is doomed to fail
- The potential owners of the iPad already have an iPhone and a laptop. While some of the scenarios could be better on such a device they are not sufficiently better and the limitations of the platform out-weigh the advantages.
- If the device is a browsing device then the browser makes a huge difference. Because of the closed nature of the iPad we can't expect to see Chrome, Firefox or Opera on the iPad. Last I checked Safari only had a minority browser share. Add the lack of flash to the equation and a lot of sites will have you reaching for a laptop.
- The iPhone was a success because when the device was released all the existing phones were terrible. The iPhone was a replacement device to something that was flawed. With the iPad it's not a replacement device. It's a supplemental device. The problem it's solving is less of a pain point.
- Basic multi-tasking is obvious and needed on a larger device (music+browsing) or (homework + calculator.) While a single app makes for a simpler experience there's no reason that I can't be productive while other apps are loading data, syncing, downloading or doing other background tasks.