Harry, thanks for the reality check about suitable iPad model. And also thanks for the reality check regarding pricing on PC vs Mac. The latter motivated me to do a cursory comparison of hardware to hardware, with reputable computer manufacturers, using real Intel chips rather than Intel clone chips.
I chose Hewlett Packard because I owned a HP Pavilion 5 years ago, and thought that was a good computer. So I just jaunted over to HP's online store, looking for a 13 inch notebook or laptop model that had hardware comparable to the 13 inch MacBook Air. The closest I found in a quick search was the HP Folio 13t-1000.
Let's compare that Folio with the MacBook Air. They both have 13 inch display, 4GB RAM, and 128GB internal flash storage. The Folio's display has less resolution, its Intel i5 processor is 2 GHz slower, it has an Intel HD Graphics 3000 compared to Intel HD Graphics 4000, and it weighs about 0.3 pounds more. But the Folio is $100 cheaper base price, has more ports and slots, has better battery time until recharge, and comes with optical drive. Optical drive for the MacBook Air is an external option (called Superdrive) for an extra $79, which to be fair would add about 0.8 pounds (including USB cable) to the MacBook Air's weight, making the Folio lighter overall by 0.5 pounds if the MacBook Air user wants an optical drive.
Those hardware specs seem relatively comparable. So $1199 + $79 for the MacBook Air vs $1099 for the HP Folio doesn't seem outrageously expensive, given the Air's better display, faster processor, and better graphics chip against the Folio's better battery time and more ports and slots.
Last edited by unboggling; 06-14-2012 at 12:17 PM.