Apple iPad on Sale ... Are You Buying?

Just a few hours ago Apple started taking orders for its "magical" iPad, the long-awaited gadget that's set to ship on April 3rd. Only one question remains: Will you buy one?

I threw that question out on Twitter this morning and so far your answers aren't mixed: You're buying one.

Those that aren't, still have questions. That makes sense, because since the iPad announcement I've received thousands of questions about the device that all start the same way:

So this iPad... 

Here's my answers to your most pressing questions about this iPad.

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So this iPad, do I need it? I already have a laptop.

No, you don't need it. But you'll want it once you get your hands on it.

Steve Jobs made the case that the iPad fits neatly between two products: The laptop and the smartphone. The real question is, do you need a product that fits between those two devices?

I won't know the answer to that until I get one. But what I've told everyone who's asked that question is that I'm tired of casually surfing the Web on my laptop and I'm tired of reading news stories on my iPhone. The other night I was laying in bed, prepping for Fox and Friends by reading political headlines on my laptop -- frustrated that I couldn't easily skim newspaper or magazine stories. The iPad fills that void.

So this iPad, is it worth it?

I know $500 and up is still a lot of money for an unproven device, but if I compare it to my $260 Kindle, I would be glad to pay a bit more for elegance, something the Kindle is sorely lacking.

Reading The Economist on my Kindle is terrible: It's clunky. If you want to see what it's like to sap the life out of a periodical try reading it on an eReader. Reading on the iPad, in my experience, was anything but. It's the digital reading experience I've been waiting for.

And if you're a gamer? Or someone who avidly surfs the Web while watching TV? Or a graphic artist? Or a comic book reader like me? I think all of these things will be breathtaking on the iPad, so for me the answer is yes, it is worth it.

But if you don't believe me, take a gander at what Panelfly is already planning for its digital comics app on the iPad.

So this iPad, should I wait?

This is not your typical first-generation product. In many ways the iPad is a highly polished device that could rightly be called a fourth-generation gadget. After all, reports suggest the iPhone was the outcome of years of tablet research and development.

You're right to be worried that Apple might slash the iPad price in a few months, as the company did with the iPhone. And you right to fear that the iPad could be a buggy, faulty, over-hyped piece of junk. But I don't think they will and I don't think it is.

Apple learned its lesson about slashing the price of the first iPhone just weeks after the launch. They won't make the same mistake twice.

The iPad has been called a big fat iPod Touch. In many ways it is, which is a good thing because Apple has learned a lot from making the iPod Touch. It's a gorgeous personal media player and the iPad will be too. It is polished and smooth and a product that in many ways Apple already knows how to make.

As for the learning curve, well, Apple doesn't really do that in public. Cupertino makes its mistakes behind closed doors, so that the products Apple actually releases are usually home runs. Not always, but mostly. The iPhone is just one example but it is the most shining one: It was beautiful right out of the box. I'm betting the iPad will be too.

Yes I'll be buying one. But that leaves me with one question:

So this iPad, should I get the one with 3G? Or should I just get the Wi-Fi version?