This is the content of a comment which I posted to a TechCrunch article on The World Doesn't Need Someone Telling Us What We Don't Need In Tech. For what it's worth, I hope the iSlate/iPad/iTablet/iWhatever is real this time; if we have another Charlie Brown, Lucy and the Football moment, I think the market will see this as one of Apple's rare blown opportunities - to the tune of maybe $50 off the share price.
I'd be interested in your thoughts.
I also disagree with the "comfort zone" limitation idea; cf. Shaw and the Unreasonable Man. Apple's successes have all been revolutionary innovations; the few times that a "me too" product has come out of Cupertino (Apple III, Lisa), it's sunk at high warp speeds.
If the iPad is even halfway affordable (by Apple standards, anyway), they'll sell like iPods on steroids; I'd certainly buy one. Even having a big, beautiful iMac and a trusty MacBook Pro, I can see several useful areas for an iPad. More-convenient-than-laptop media browsing and ebook reading is the one everybody latches on to. But I could take an iPad onto the train every morning and get stuff done - standing on a lurching train filled with people from cultures that don't know how to move in crowds efficiently. I could take it into meeting-room meetings and hallway meetings more easily and effectively than a full-clamshell laptop. And it would probably be easier to gather a couple of people and run through a quick presentation with an iPad than a laptop, too. (Think "elevator pitch.")
Sure, it would fill a niche and scratch a few itches that I already know about. But for it to be truly revolutionary, it will need to find uses that I/we can't really predict yet, because we've never really had something capable of filling them - we've just sort of worked around limitations we weren't really aware of. (See 'iPhone' for previous example.) I've got more faith in Apple to pull something that revolutionary out of their hats than I do in any other tech company today — or in the 30 years I've been in this industry.
We ain't seen nothin' yet.