As we were talking, I began to realize that he didn't really have a clear idea of exactly what this gadget is -- and lots of you probably have parents in similar situations. So I put together this Q&A using actual questions my Dad asked throughout the course of the weekend.
"So I can use it instead of my normal computer, right?"
The iPad isn't going to replace your home computer. In fact, it's supposed to be like an iPod -- a mobile device you bring along but not a primary system. You manage your music and movies and everything over on your main machine (a Windows unit in my Dad's case) and then synchronize that data to your iPad using iTunes.
"But what about Microsoft Works? Can I load that on?"
Afraid not. The iPad is more like a mobile phone than it is like a computer. You won't be able to run Windows on it, or even the Macintosh operating system OS X. It has its own private system and can only run apps that you buy at the App Store. (Trust me, my Dad does not want to know from jailbreaking or Cydia.)