'It's just a big iPod.' 'Don't you look silly holding it up to your ear to make a phone call?'
I have heard all the jokes but people are just jealous. The iPad is revolutionary. What Apple has done is to understand we do not need a full desktop to take with us everywhere and that a finger is the best input device.
I have used a variety of mobile devices, including armoured laptops and pen-driven smart phones. But they have all been slow and cumbersome, taking longer to boot up, and as complicated as my desktop.
Many argue for netbooks on the grounds that they have a keyboard. Well the iPad is lighter and more portable than most netbooks, it looks cool and has great battery life - days go by without me charging it.
Hundreds of apps
The other killer feature is the app store through which there are hundreds of great apps that do pretty much anything you want and a few things you did not know that you could.
Going through a routine I have developed when demonstrating it to people might be useful. The iPad comes on instantly at the press of a button. I start by showing movies. I have several saved, the screen is amazing and the sound good.
I then pop into the photo app and flick through pictures, zooming in and out with a gesture, turning from portrait to landscape to show them off. Next I move to the iBooks app and show the books you can download and read and how great they look on screen. I then show a comic app that redefines the way comics are read.
Next, and getting serious, I demonstrate the amazing calendar, email and contacts apps all of which sync beautifully with NHSmail. I have never been more in control of my work - especially with a great organiser like the ToDo app that syncs across all my computers.
I move on to show Evernote (which captures information in any environment) and Dropbox (for synchronising and sharing files online). Both are free and, if anything, are better on the iPad than a computer.
Finally, I show the word processor and slideshow apps. The on-screen keyboard is a dream, but there is a keyboard dock and you can use Bluetooth keyboards if you prefer.
This is the only bit where the iPad slows down a little. As a Mac owner I am used to Pages and Keynote, Apple's equivalent of Word and PowerPoint. Both are great, and can read and write Microsoft files, and have terrific features, including one allowing you to connect your iPad to a projector with fancy options. But if you are addicted to Microsoft Office, some relearning is needed as there are no Microsoft applications yet.
Convinced yet? The iPad is a justifiable business expense, so think about buying all your partners one.
The cheapest price - direct from the Apple iPad store is £429 - but you can pay up to £700.
As iPads are new, no one is really discounting them so the Apple price is as good as you get.
- Dr Paul is a GP in Cheshire