Pundits pitting the "netbook" versus the iPad are totally missing the point. Yes, a "netbook" has more ports, cameras, built-in SD card slot etc. But the iPad is not meant to be compared with a full-fledged laptop, just as a "netbook" is not meant to be compared with a full-fledged laptop. A proper laptop would be far better at conventional computing tasks then either of these devices.
Can a "netbook" or even a laptop do something like Brushes? A Wacom Cintiq 12WX alone costs more than the iPad.
The iPad runs iPhone software. For a user, this means instant-on, fast and responsive apps that you know and love on the iPhone/iPod Touch.
From an ideological perspective the iPad runs on Mobile Safari which offers the best web surfing experience on a mobile device, so most web apps are covered. Look at web usage analytics for mobile devices. iPhone OS devices account for a far larger proportion than their actual market share. It doesn't have Flash support, but it does support HTML5.
If it were available 2 years ago, I would've bought it for my mom instead of the Macbook Air she has now.
That's what the iPad is. It is a Macbook Air-killer. It does everything the Macbook Air does, but with a smaller form factor and much lower price without all the pitfalls of traditional computers such as weekly security updates, viruses etc.
So the summary is, if you were never in the market for a device like the Macbook Air, even at the reduced price of US$499, then you would not be interested in the iPad.