Interesting topic. I would like to see a survey, that asks these same folks, WHY. Not that I disagree, but I wonder what is actually driving them to use the iPad where they would have used a laptop before. Is it the slick interface, the joy of typing on a screen, the brilliance of writing with the equivalent of a fat tip marker (capacitive stylii aren't very pointy), or is it that the iPad weighs only 1.33 lbs and can go a whole day on a charge. Bet those specs figure heavily into the choice.
Look at what they say they do..."The most common use of the iPad among professionals is Web browsing, which 79 percent said they "always" use the device for. Reading followed closely with 76 percent, news consumption had 73 percent, and work communication earned 54 percent."
Heck, I can do that on my phone, but the screen is kinda small. Android tablets do all that very well too, but they do take a bit more fiddling.
I wonder how many of those folks would be OK with taking a business trip, taking only the iPad? (or Android Tablet, or Win 7 slate for that matter). Maybe if you let them take a keyboard along...but then you got a laptop, don't you.
Maybe we should stop and define the distinction between laptop and tablet. Is it OS, keyboard, weight, battery life, size? The screen on my Vaio TX isn't much bigger than the iPad' and it runs Windows, and has a keyboard and DVD writer and PCMCIA card slot, etc. (2.14 lbs BTW) My HP slate is smaller and lighter than the iPad and runs Windows as well. Neither do it for more than 3-4 hours unfortunately. What is the Asus Transformer...when docked?
I really think we are technologically at a point that a tablet, whatever OS, could replace a Portable Personal Computing device, heretofore called a laptop. I would argue that to allow comfortable content creation, we are still going to want a keyboard, and maybe a mouse. I think the Transformer covers that nicely (Though HP did it back in 2005 with the TC1100...form, not capability). There will always be a need for more horsepower than you can efficiently and economically squeeze into a portable device. That could still be a 6-8 lb laptop rather than a desktop/workstation. Nothing stopping the creation of a laptop with a dock that supports 3-4 external monitors to allow the hardware, content, and applications to be transportable.
Consider the Henge Docks. http://hengedocks.com/
With 27" monitor, a full keyboard and Magic Mouse setup and a MBP in there, isn't that for all intents and purposes a desktop? You can walk away with the laptop. What if you could also separate the keyboard from a touchscreen MBP? salivating yet?
I love my iPad, not only for what it is and what it does, but also what it has made everyone else start thinking about...again.