Let me first say that I am a strong proponent of FOSS, which is also why I subscribe to LWN. At the moment, I have an iPad at home because I am porting my software WebODF to it. The point of that is to make it easier with people that have chosen for a closed product to still use open document formats.
While I support FOSS, especially as a long term goal, I have found that it is hard to explain the advantages because most people simply lack the ability for abstract thinking required to comprehend it. An iPad has a ton of software that allows you to do many things that you cannot do with other systems, simply because the software is not available to these systems. In the short term, that makes the iPad more free for many of the things that people want to do! (freedom: the ability to do what you want to do and say what you want to say). I have browsed through the app store and testing out some of the free applications there. The content dwarfs even debian. However, testing the programs is fine, looking at how they work or improving them is not. You cannot even install software in an iPad without a developer license.
To compete with this enormous repertoire of free and cheap software at a (currently) small price in terms of money and freedom is hard. Apps are striking a chord and I think FOSS can compete if we adapt our ecossystem to make it easy to develop apps and use them anywhere. By apps, I mean small tools that do one thing right, run on mobile devices that people have and look nice and are easy to use. Android is a reasonable choice if the google market is replaced with a community driven alternative. Another option might come from Mozilla: apps for the browser and a mobile operating system based on it.
Sorry for the exclamation mark, I thought it was appropriate.