The iPad, like the Kindle, is a portable cash register, Arnold Kling says:
With a Kindle, wherever you are, you are in a bookstore, with your credit card handy. There’s nothing wrong with that. I own a Kindle, and I’m happy with it. But it’s really not necessary to have to pay for one. I’ve shelled out much more for books on my Kindle than I did for the Kindle itself. The only reason not to give the Kindle away for free is that you would wind up putting it in the hands of consumers who are not all that interested in books.
Regardless of the price at which the iPad is sold, it is going to generate plenty of revenue. For Steve Jobs, getting people to pay for it is a bit like Tom Sawyer getting his friends to pay for the privilege of doing his whitewashing work for him.
Except that Apple and Amazon don’t make much profit off of media sales — yet.