We spend a lot of money on toys. If the iPad turns out to be a toy, so what? If some people manage to use it for actual work, great.
I don't know that they will be punished at exam time. Many professors grade exams on the curve, meaning that they pass X percent of the class. If many students do poorly on the exam, clearly the exam was too hard.
When my father was in med school, ca 1950, attendance was taken and affected your right to take the exam, so this is not a new concept.
All that said, it won't work. For example, I walk into class and the sensors detect my card, so I'm logged as being in attendance. Woo hoo. Now I put my card in a metal wallet that prevents the sensors from reading the card and walk out the door. The sensors do not detect me leaving. Or, equally silly, I oversleep and I'm in a rush to get to class and leave my card on my dresser. So I'm in class, verified by many classmates and possibly the professor, but I'm logged as absent.
The vast majority of texts that authors give us are incredibly poor. Our editors have an extremely hard job of cleaning these up and rewriting them so that they are generally understandable and professional and are correctly targeted for our audience. To our established authors, we also offer them an advance on their work.
I'll second this. I once read a book published by the author on a vanity press. Although the content itself was good (and the writing was not too bad), the formatting looked like it had been done by a 10-year-old. Much of the text was either bold or underlined or italicized (and note that those 'or's are NOT exclusive ors), to the point that it was almost unreadable. Had it been formatted by an adult, I might well have purchased several copies to give to friends. As it was, I did not manage to read the entire book - the formatting was just too awful. Editing is NOT the same thing as writing. A good editing job is worth money.