My dad kindly bought me an iPad for my birthday which of course prompted a lot of questions from Pad-skeptics about why would someone need one of those. The answer, of course, is that you don’t. You’ve been living your life without an iPad, and you can continue to do so successfully.
That said, for an eleven-day trip to China it’s an excellent thing to have. One device offered me The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Stirred the Hornets’ Nest, In Fed We Trust, Subprime Solution, Lonely Planet China, and Russia Against Napoleon along with all 52 issues of Countdown and a bunch of Dark Reign books all for less space/weight than any of those volumes would have required individuals. You wouldn’t want to do serious composition on the iPad, but it works great for taking notes in meetings. What’s more, if while listening to someone talk it occurs to you that you’d like to look something up or check a fact online, you can do that. Plus you can listen to music, check email, figure out where you are with Google Maps, etc.
Most people don’t travel all that much, and the price tag is pretty steep, but it’s really just about the most excellent business travel companion you can imagine.