My wife loves her iPad. She doesn't get on her laptop now unless she needs Firefox to access her work's website. For everything else, she uses the iPad. Shopping, watching movies, trip planning, and so on.
My parents can only use their iPads because they've never use a computer in their life. My mother will try to pinch and zoom on my computer monitor to make pictures bigger.
Do they need the latest iPad every time Apple comes out with a new one? Hell no. My father is perfectly happy on his iPad 3, he gets his news, Netflix, and DirecTV app. My mother is happy on her iPad 4 because she can watch Youtube, music, and looking up new recipes. My wife is fine with her iPad Air, and she's not getting a new one because I just bought that last year.
Only person without an iPad is me. I have no need for them, I get things done on my laptop or desktop. I don't need trimmed down apps, I do need full applications and a real keyboard.