I was just gonna read this and move along. Then I saw ivid's post. Now I feel compelled to get involved...
The industry will adapt to the iPad? You mean websites containing flash will bend over and take it from behind because Apple releases a ho-hum product? Why would anyone adapt to a product that CAN'T do something? Just makes no sense. 1% of the population will have iPad. 99% have PCs that run Flash.
iPad verdict = FAIL
Next item, then? Right, viruses and malware. Sure, Windows has always been the target of idiots who like to write nasty code. That's what happens when you're top dog. If you think the latest OS from Apple is more secure or more virus resistant than Windows, you're crazy.
iPAD verdict = Safe because nobody cares enough to write code to hurt it... for now.
Okay, let's talk about the netbook. I just bought a netbook 2 months ago. I also had to uninstall a bunch of software garbage. Gateway put it on, not Microsoft. I also created the App/System Restore DVDs in case I ever needed to start from scratch again. Not sure why HP can't provide the DVD anymore. Maybe your buddy doesn't know what he's doing. Tell him to check user forums or call tech support. He should immediately have created the restore DVDs. Does he not read instructions?
iPad verdict = None on this one. Your buddy is at fault for not creating the backup discs, not HP.
So, in a nutshell, I'd buy this product over the iPad. Why? Because I trust HP 200 times more than I trust Apple.