The wife is the proud owner of an iPad 2. We looked at the weekend and alternative products seemed to have no appeal to her. The reaction was, when showing her an alternative, "was it an iPad?" The alternatives will have a hard sell against the perceived appeal of the iPad. It seems to me that Apple has achieved something that all the other tabs have not, and may not achieve.
I don't think i've seen the thing out of her hands since it was opened. No, not quite, but she's constantly picking the thing up. I helped her find a few Apps that she might find appealing, and added a utility or two that I know we might need. When I say 'we' I mean me when something goes awry. BTW, this is her machine, not mine, so I won't be touching it.
I haven't yet tried the tethering on this WiFi-only model and I'll have to leave it a while before I can get near it, or I might just wait until she asks.
There are not many products that create such a pull to the consumer, and it has surprised me how someone that has no interest in technology has been drawn in. I guess she doesn't see it as technology, she sees it as an iPad.