Now for my personal experience and criticism as an ipad buyer and user:
We bought a 2nd gen solely as a therapy tool for a deaf child. It has performed well in that role, and I would gladly buy one again, and again every month if I had to, for some of the help it provides with sound representation and identification.
The controlled access option with three clicks of the home button (when enabled) is enormously useful in that regard as well. Thumbs up.
And then comes the "but..."
But every time I use it I feel a little disappointed and am so thankful I didn't spend a huge amount of money buying it for myself. Not because it just has two cores, and not because the display isn't retina enough, but because I never can get over feeling like it's little more than a very expensive web browsing tool.
I won't go into not having drag and drop capabilities and being forced to use itunes for any interaction. Many folks have no technical knowledge or interest past "where's the button to turn it on?", and an itunes icon is probably a decent way for them to figure out how to get music and photos to the device. It's irritating that it's the ONLY way, but I'm almost willing to overlook it.
But it has no microSD slot, so you can't dump photos to it while on vacation. It doesn't have native support for .avi, so all of those educational DVDs you spent so much money on and time ripping? You get to re-encode them to Apple's restrictive format if you want to play them. A simple book reader with ebooks you already have? Good luck (hint: Stanza). And each time you use it you'll find something else that keeps you from easily doing what you should be able to easily do with a product like this.
I could almost see if I used an iphone for work and they could talk to one another (and kudos for Apple for convincing people that being trapped in a restrictive ecosystem is a desirable thing), but I can't figure out the massive appeal other than people being convinced that they need it and it will somehow make their lives better.
And, if checking Facebook on the toilet qualifies as making peoples' lives better, I'm sure it does. Otherwise though, it's been a bit of a disappointment and a product I wouldn't buy again.
Maybe I'm just not their demographic, though, so YMMV.