Debro, i suppose you believed bill gates when he said 640K was more than enough memory for everyone? The hardware decoder doesn't provide hardware acceleration for decoding for all formats, only iPad "native" h.264 with specific profiles. Have you tried to play a 720p MKV video on the original iPad using cinexplayer or VLC? It doesn't have the processing power for it. It's choppy and unwatchable and cinexplayer developers state it's because its not powerful enough. A 1080p MKV is even worse and DOES need the CPU power of iPad 2 or 3. And specially when airplaying it to an ATV.
Call it a toy if you like but it doest change the fact thame many of us do play games on these devices and if you listen to what Epic games has stated about the new iPads capabilites for games you would know the processing power is not wasted. I prefer my Xbox but when I'm on a long flight all I have is my iPad.
And BTW, games are only faster with less cores because the programmers didn't optimize their code for multiple processors. And it really makes no sense that any game would work great on dual core and not quad. If it is properly coded for multiple processors (cores) then the more the better.
As for photo editing, manipulating and applying effects to a 10-20 MP image on a 2048x1536 O/S takes alot of juice, all while multitasking the O/S etc..
No it not for professionals (actually some pros will use it) but since when do you need to be a professional to use a photo editor?. Maybe you don't travel much but when Im on vacation taking 100's of pictures, it helpful to be able to edit, crop or tweak etc.. at the end of the day.
Another factor is shooting videos @ 1080p and encoding on the fly to h.264. If you've ever used and kind of encoding software such as after affects then you know the more power and cores the better and faster.
Anyhow I don't need to waste any more time justifying it.. Game sales and downloads of iPhoto (#1 selling app on app store) are proof enough people use these features. Another one is imovie, very successful because YES people do use their iPads for these things!
If flash is required then why has adobe abanonned it on mobile platforms ? They will no longer develop it. I very rarely hit a site I can't use because if flash.
PS, yes star walk @ 2048x1536, or any other 3D or graphics app.