Bring on the haterade. I agree that there is more hype than major advances to this iPad, and Apple has a history of making a lot of hoopla over product releases that don't always warrant it. The rest of your comment, though... meh. Among other things, it's "Kool-Aid" - unless you were making a pun on "cool" and "Kool-Aid" in which case kudos - and your probably meant population or populace rather than "populous," which is an adjective not a noun And not all their customers are elitist - and that comment seems a bit rich coming in a post that reeks of an aggrieved sense of superiority, and which dismisses the majority of the "populous" as suckers - almost a textbook example of elitism.
You're certainly right though about their pricing strategies. Oddly, they work. Customers will pay a premium. Partly it's a disconnect between marketing and reality - a disconnect that Reagan used to such stunning advantage in the political realm and which has since been a defining feature of the political process in this country.
As for patent lawsuits, they've become such a commonplace in the tech sector that it is really becoming a drag. Apple does it fairly aggressively, but they are by no means the only company that sometimes seems more concerned with patent trolling than technological innovation.
The iPad is a triumph of consumer marketing. And just like the iPhone it has been a real game changer? Are their other great tablets out there? Yes. Did this release merit the amount of hoopla and publicity it's received? No. Is the new display awesome? Yes. Is the iPad a serious tool or just a toy? Mostly toy right now, but it will rapidly become a tool - and Apple will make money hand over fist with it. In part because of their increasingly aggressively closed ecosystem, to which I think we all object.