You are not alone with this question. There are a few things that must be realized to help answer the question. First, our society has become a need it now, must be connected type. The addiction of social networking, constantly checking email and the like are part of what fuels this frenzy. I see a tablet as mostly an entertainment device. If you want a productivity tool, you will still use a laptop or desktop computer. Many of the consumers out there mainly use facebook and twitter, email, browse the web, read e-books and view photo and video. Given that, a portable device with good battery life is great. Personally, I will wait until I am in front of my laptop for most of these. Yes, I do get email on my smartphone and use the calendar, but only because it a convenience for my business. Otherwise, I would probably just own a plain old flip phone. Watch people around you. They always have their face stuck in their phone. It's more offensive to today's generation to unfriend them on facebook, than it is to hit them with a baseball bat. The tablet is really no different than just having a larger version of a smartphone for most of these needs. Part of the problem also is the media hype. Everyone is convinced by the marketing that this is something you MUST have. They tell us that computers are a dying breed and you must have this portable device, and cloud services to be able to function.
Unfortunately, this is not a fad. Today's generation of social network addiction will keep the tablet industry growing. This generation wants everything electronic, it's cool, it's convenient, it makes things they do easier. The downside is take away the technology, and many cannot function even at the basic level. Yes, there are a few exceptions out there, where the tablets can serve a useful work tool, but those are limited. Most of us will still be using real computers, and if we have tablets, it will be a secondary device. I've worked IT for 23 years and have seen many gadgets come and go. Most have been fueled by a need (or lack of) and reality. Today's gadgets are more fueled by a want, and a perception of reality. Like every device, it still gets down to personal needs and desires. The fact that you have asked the question to begin with tells us that you don't have the need yet, and have a better sense of how to spend your money on tech devices. Congratulations on having the fore thought, and not just running out and following the crowd. Although I work in technology, I too, have not seen the need, and certainly have not been able to justify the cost for something that for me, will basically just be a toy.