Hi Hforman: I really enjoyed your post and your thoughts about the validity of an iPad for your work, as you describe the limitations.
I know that some companies do NOT value "free thinkers" and punish anyone that asks questions. Is that your company or not? I'm asking because, if your comments are NOT welcome, you'll just have to "put up and shut up" and take the free iPad. If your company DOES encourage talks (without repercussions) then you could point out to T.P.T.B. the concerns you posted HERE, and express your concerns for not only the usefulness of an iPad but also the cost of outfitting all the exec's with one. Mind you, I've had friend's who thought they were doing their company a favour by asking honest questions about costly perks and they were 'shot down' and told to "Shut Up!"; apparently everyone wanted the free goodies.
In my company, I welcome every single measure to save money so I can spend it elsewhere. I listen to and reward every employee that saves me time and money. But, I know I'm in the minority and most employees (even up to the V.P. level) just want to have gifts/perks rain down on them.
Of my friend's who own iPads, almost 90% were offered one through their company. When their company upgraded from the original iPad to the latest version, they were allowed to keep the original one, no strings attached.