I think the iPad, as it stands, will help spread the e-revolution for books. I just don’t think, as it stands, it will be the book replacement tool for those who need it most: grade 6-12 children. Most college kids purchase a laptop as their primary educational aide. They may become a widespread tool at primary and high schools in affluent areas, but at 500 dollars per to start + some book licensing fees, I don’t think they are affordable enough. Most textbook upgrades are done incrementally. Rarely do schools outlay the kind of cash that would make a “let’s replace all these books with iPad’s” an even trade. Apple could propose school discounts, but in the Philadelphia Public School system, I just don’t see this as an affordable reality.
Netbook + e-readers and Kindles are on better pace (price and adaptability to various mobile telco environments) to become this type of tool for grades 6-12 and both Netbook + e-reader, Kindles and iPads could drive down costs at the collegiate level where you spend hundreds on once and done books every term. In reality, enough kids are still used to the tactile experience of reading things in hand, they may purchase printers to print on demand from either type of tool.
Note: The iPad doesn’t use SIM cards. It uses a Micro-SIM card. So yes, they are technically “unlocked” but GSM networks use standard SIM cards and this is basically a cynical its unlocked if your mobile provider wants to switch to Micro-SIM technology. Minus some hack to the BIOS routine that loads the SIM info and will port it to other mobile networks, its not unlocked at all. So this is another to wide spread use because if you want to use an iPad, you have to be an AT&T customer because of this proprietary hardware. Thumbs down Apple. Two thumbs down.