The Apple iPad is a device which bridges the gap between the iPhone and a laptop. In many ways it's a glorified iPod touch. I think it's way too early to judge if the iPad is a success or not. I don't know if it will be a game changer. All we can do is wait and see first.
As of now, if you're entertaining the notion of purchasing this at first launch (i.e. 2 months from now), I discourage you from doing so. Clearly, this is still a version 1.0 product that needs refining. We aren't even sure if we really need it. I'm not sure if I could actually use this as a netbook replacement. After all, there's no flash support, no multi-tasking, web cam... yada yada.
As much as Apple calls it a new class of device, the truth is that the iPad will compete head on with the saturated netbook market. The iPad's aggressive pricing implies this. So the first question that I ask is whether the iPad can do what most people do on netbooks. Now as much as Apple says netbooks suck/is not the solution, the truth is that it is wildly successful, and because of its success surely the netbook can't be all wrong. It is successful because it offers full laptop capabilities in a cheap and compact form-factor. In my view, if the iPad is going to be a huge success like the iPhone was, it has to do what the netbook does, and do it 10 times better. If not, then I think it makes little sense for people to get the iPad in addition to a netbook. It just complicates life to have to manage another device.
So to me the real question is this: can the iPad replace a netbook? If no, then I won't get it. I don't want to be managing my iPhone, netbook, laptop AND my iPad. It's just too much technology for me.