In my experience, app switching is extremely laggy - moving from one app to another results in 3-5 seconds of lag where you are unable to do anything. And if you try, it just delays the lag longer.
Honestly sounds to me like a very different experience than my iPad 2 has been. Perhaps other iPad 2 users can back me up here. App switching has always been pretty snappy for me, and the whole experience improved (especially web browsing, with multiple tabs) with the iOS 5 upgrade.
Makes me wonder if your iPad 2 didn't have a software or hardware issue of some sort. Was it running iOS 5? Had it been jailbroken? Any funny widgets or anything running? Rebooted recently? Hrmm.
Nope, always been this way. I think I am just sensitive to it, because I always run into this discussion (which often turns into an argument when the other party is a "fan" of a company). I even made a video of the exact instance I am talking about, and you can clearly see a 3 second lag when switching to the Mail app, where the cursor is not blinking and the app is non responsive. There is a 1-2 second lag switching to the iBooks app, where the PDF is re-loading itself, and is unresponsive.
Edit and these are first party Apple apps, latest versions, so the old version software theory doesn't apply here (or in any of the other instances I can recall)
Not to say this happens ALL THE TIME, but enough for me to say that in my personal opinion, the ipad is not useful as a productivity device. I guess it depends on the task, but I have tried enough tasks only to be frustrated and wishing I was using a laptop instead. Another one is data entry.. You should try using it as your spreadsheet application for an upcoming video card review or something. See that works out for you.. I can just about guarantee you'll hate it. I know you typed up an article on it, and that was bad enough right? It gets much worse.
But like I say every time I bring this up, since people invest themselves emotionally into the product and become insulted and confrontational, I still think the ipad is an awesome device for certain things. It is very fun to play around with, and a fantastic travel companion.
Regarding 4-5 finger gestures, I think it's the BEST thing about iOS 5, and I find myself wishing my Android phone had such a feature (actually I think I saw a hack for it on XDA a few days ago, so I might just check that out)