Still, if you're like me and a big part of your job is to figure out how to build web applications for all kinds of devices, you have probably been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what to do about the iPad. On one hand, it's a big enough device that most websites will look just fine on it.
I think you must agree that the above looks a heck of a lot better than a "mobile optimized" site like this:
This seems great at first -- no work! Just make sure that if you are using any browser sniffing/redirecting code that it does not redirect for the iPad. However, there are some disadvantages to this. First, there are some issues with 'normal' sites that will not translate well to the iPad. There is the obvious thing with Flash... There are more subtle things like, "hovers", i.e. mouse-overs. That is when you toss up a UI layer when a user hovers their mouse over a link, or an image, or whatever. These are pretty popular, and they are not going to work on the iPad. Apple has quite figured out how to detect a finger hover... There are other events that are different on the iPad as well. There is also the question of how to best use the real-estate on the device, and the related question of dealing with landscape mode.
There's also the possibility of "embracing the native" on the web. There are a lot of iPhone-optimized websites that do a good job of making their website look and feel like a native iPhone application. Joe Hewitt's excellent iUi JS/CSS framework is an easy way to do this. The iPad has some of its own metaphors not found in the iPhone. Take a look at this native iPad app:
Notice all of those columns? We've kind of touched on that already. Did you notice the pop-over menus? These are likely to be ubiquitous on the iPad. Here is a picture of them from one of Apple's iPad apps, Numbers:
So what to do? Just stick with your "normal" site? Develop an iPad optimized site? Tweak your iPhone-optimized site to suck less on the iPad? Tweak your normal site to suck less on the iPad?