Are iPad Critics As Wrong As the Old iPhone Critics?

Harry McCracken walks through the iPhone naysayers, and wonders if those who panned the iPad will look as foolish in the next few years.

This specter always haunts pundits, and every time I'm tempted to make predictions about products that are too firm, I recall William Goldman's famous adage that "No one knows anything".  If Steven Spielberg had realized that 1941 was going to flop, he wouldn't have made it.  But he couldn't tell, and there you are.

That said, I'm still unsure how the iPad gets around the core problem:  it doesn't replace anything.  Buying an iPhone let me take my phone, my camera, and my iPod out of the briefcase.  Buying a Kindle let me remove a newspaper, several books, and some documents I have on PDF.

What does the iPad let me take out?  Not my laptop, because it can't multitask and I'd have to add a portable keyboard.  Not my iPhone.  Maybe I could take out my Kindle, but then I'd have to put books back in for long plane journeys.  The best I get is a couple of magazines, which aren't exactly causing me space or weight issues.

Maybe I'm missing something.  It sure looks cool.  But that's not enough to justify the outlay.