Friday, June 18, 2010

If you like the Kindle, you may love the iPad (or not)

With the belief (hope, actually) that Apple's new cutting edge tablet device - the iPad - would help me return to a more regular blogging pattern, I preordered a 3G model and have had one since the product's release date. Although I love the device, it hasn't worked out so far as a blogging tool, as it doesn't seem to work so well with Blogger, which is why you see the posts with no red links ... the operating system doesn't seem compatible with the Compose post function of blogger, which means you're forced into using the more limited Edit Html option. Plus, any Flash video will not play, so that knocks out the ability to watch lots of clips that are an obligatory part of blogging (such as those at the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.)

But those issues aside, the device is awesome. The screen displays ... well, whatever ... gorgeously. Web browsing and media interfacing (with other devices and through iTunes) is a breeze. Tons of useful, fun, interesting apps. Etc. It's a great mobile media device.

I don't want to get to much into a review of the device in general, but to address it specifically as an electronic book reader. You may recall that I previously expressed my appreciation of Amazon's Kindle. Well, the iBooks program for iPad blows Kindle out of the water in terms of appearance and general coolness. iBooks doesn't just provide you with a convenient e-text - it provides you with a virtual book and virtual bookshelf that looks very, very real. When you read a book with the iPad held horizonatally the pages are displayed just like an open book. And when you flip a page you virtually turn the page just as you would with an actual book. And unlike the Kindle, the iPad is backlit ... I've held the iPad at night, reading a book in bed with the lights out really does give you the impression of reading some futuristic, Star Trek type version of a book. And, of course, the iPad displays color so that you get the full effect of any color images that a book might have.

Plus, the iPad runs the Kindle program; but better than the Kindle! You can sync up any books from your Kindle and you will see them displayed in a more eye pleasing fashion with more options for manipulating the text than on the Kindle. It also runs the Barnes and Noble e-reader program.

Now here is the "or not" part. Despite how great - superior, actually - the iPad is in terms of aesthetics, I still prefer reading with my Kindle. The Kindle is smaller and lighter, and is thus more portable and easier to hold during extended reading. Plus, since it's a device dedicated to reading, it is easier to concentrate on actually reading the text. When I'm using the iPad I'll be tempted/distracted into checking e-mail, surfing the net, or playing with all the cool apps that are only a fingertip touch away.

P.S. Forgot to mention, the Kindle can be viewed outdoors, so another plus for it.

1 comment:

Sheldon Richman said...

Re the "or not" part: Just what I figured. I'll stick with my Kindle. I hate the distractions. Thanks.