I've been sitting here thinking about the practical uses for the iPad. With iWork being added to the available apps, my first thought was about all of the inventories I've had to assist with over the years. These were restaurant/bar related, and I can tell you, they are a time-consuming but necessary nuisance. Spreadsheets take care of the actual value dollar calculations, but you still have to physically count items and enter them into the spreadsheet.
The usual routine starts by printing the form that contains the list of items. Then the counting starts, with item totals entered in the proper place. Then, the blank is opened on the computer, where all of those numbers need to be entered a second time, and do it carefully. There's nothing like finding out that you missed a number 16 lines back and all of your totals are off. Yes, you could just open the spreadsheet on a laptop and carry that around as you enter numbers, but let's face it. Laptops are too heavy and awkward to carry around like that. The iPad is perfect for this job. Enter it once, and be done with it. I have a feeling I'll be volunteering to help with inventory once I have my iPad, just to test this out.
Most of my friends know that I'm an avid knitter, and always have a lace chart on my desk. Most of my patterns are in PDF format, and while I can transfer them to my iPod touch to take along with me, the screen tends to be too small to be practical. Think of trying to read a blueprint on that tiny screen. Not easy on the eyes. Now, the iPad will be a different story. Charts and graphs in full size! Easy to read — without my glasses.
Cook books! Now, I have to admit that while I collect cook books, I really don't follow recipes to the letter. For those who do, the iPad will be ideal. Splash something on it while you're working? Wipe it off. Can't do that with paper. And while you can do this with any computer, the iPad will take up much less space.
I've heard complaints about what the iPad doesn't have, but it won't stop me from buying one. I don't care that it doesn't have a webcam. No one needs to see my mug when I'm not at my best. It doesn't do Flash. Frankly, I'm not fond of Flash. It slows things down. Whatever it does or doesn't have, I'm buying one.