Credit: Sean MacEntee

Is iPad good for anything besides playing games and reading books?

The short answer is yes. iPad sometimes gets a bad rap as being just a fancy Kindle alternative or an expensive 

Can I use iPad in lieu of a laptop?

Absolutely! If your primary computer is a desktop, iPad may be a perfect alternative to a laptop, depending on your needs. If you are an average, non-technical, computer user, iPad likely provides everything you need. With iPad, you can read and compose emails, browse the internet, watch movies, listen to music. With applications, you can access TV shows, streaming content, news, and social media. You can use Pages, Numbers, and Keynote to read, create, and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. There are plenty of simple note taking applications and it's easy to sync with your computer to work on later.

If you need to technical work on the go (such as photo manipulation, video editing, web design, or computer programming), the iPad won't fit your needs. If you will do a lot of intensive work on the go (writing books or legal arguments, for instance), the iPad's on-screen may prove cumbersome. You might want to opt for a laptop instead, or you can try out an external keyboard for iPad.

Can I use iPad as my only computer?

You can't use iPad as your only computer. In fact, you can't even start it up the first time without connecting it to a computer. For many people who leave their work at the office, iPad would be sufficient, but it's just not possible. You could always get an old, cheap, or used computer to connect your iPad to and then use iPad as your primary device. You'll want the computer for things like downloading large files and importing CDs.

How much does iPad cost?

The latest version costs anywhere from $499 - $829, depending on the model. The original is $100 cheaper. WiFi only models from $499 - $699, 3G capabale models are $629 - $829.

Which iPad model is right for me?

The best way to determine which model is best suited for you is to identify where you will most often be using your iPad. If you plan on using it mostly in your home or office, there's no need for 3G as you will always be near a wireless internet network. If you plan on using it while traveling, but you travel by air and then will only be using it at hotels or client offices, you may still be fine with the WiFi model as you won't be able to access the internet on an airplane and once you're on the ground at your destination, you will have access to wireless internet.

If you travel often and have unknown or unreliable internet while you will need to use your iPad, 3G is the way to go. If you travel by car, bus, or train, 3G will gurantee you can connect to the internet. If you do a lot of work "in the field" such as canvassing, tabling at street fairs, presenting at conferences, or visiting clients and customers, the ability to connect to the internet wherever you are via AT&T or Verizon's 3G network will be a crucial benefit.

What is the difference between iPad and Kindle?

The Kindle is primarily an ebook reader. You can now download PDFs to Kindle and later versions are in full color, but the Kindle is first and foremost a paperbook replacement. It happens to connect to the internet and have a few other features. Conversely, iPad is first and foremost a mobile computing device. You browse the internet, run an assortment of apps, check email, word process, play games. It happens to have an ebook application (called iBook) but that is not its primary purpose. Incidentally, you can get a Kindle application for iPad to read all of your Kindle books.