Not Yet Sold on the iPad
Shortly after I became the proud owner of a Barnes & Noble Nook, rumors started intensifying that Apple was on the verge of releasing a tablet computer that quite possibly could make my e-reader (and all the others like it) seem as antiquated as the Brother word processor I used back in college. I was disheartened. I had invested a significant amount of time researching e-reading devices before deciding on the Nook. Now, I had barely opened the packaging on my new toy, and something even newer and better and more colorful—and with apps!—was already stepping up to take its place.
And it wasn't just any new product—it was an Apple product. I had rushed out to buy the very first iPod (the large white one that now seems as clunky and cumbersome as a Walkman). I graduated to the iPod Nano and then the Touch. I gave up my flawless Verizon Wireless service (a parting of ways that was nearly as difficult and tragic as a breakup) to suffer through dropped calls and spotty AT&T service, all in the name of the iPhone. How could I NOT be first in line for the next Apple product revolution?
Sure enough, in late January, the rumors proved to be true, and Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPad. And the hype began. In the meantime, I had grown quite attached to my Nook. From its light weight to its e-ink screen and contoured shape, it was an easy and comfortable reading experience. And I enjoyed the convenience of quickly browsing and downloading books. I was a most satisfied customer, and between my Nook and my iPhone, I certainly didn't need another, similar gadget. It was going to require restraint, but I decided I was not going to be at the front of the line of my local Apple store on the day of the iPad's release.
Luckily, I still had an opportunity to spend some quality time with an iPad here at work. And maybe the hype over this supposed “Kindle killer” inflated my expectations beyond what was reasonable, but I found myself thinking, “... Eh. It's OK.” What am I missing, folks? It most definitely was a cool gadget, but I parted ways with it with a distinct “I can take it or leave it” feeling. And at a cost of nearly $500, I'll leave it.
From an e-reader perspective, it certainly has its benefits. Obviously, the color touch screen brings books' illustrations and photographs to life in a way a Kindle or a Nook never could with their smaller, black-and-white screens, and makes the book-shopping experience even simpler than on the Nook. But my biggest complaint with it as an e-reading device outweighs (no pun intended) the benefits—its noticeably heavier weight and cumbersome size and shape. Unlike the Nook, I couldn't imagine holding it for an hour or two while reading a novel, or easily carrying it around with me.
Perhaps I just didn't spend enough time with the device to get use to it. If you're an iPad owner and have been using it to read books or magazines, I'd love to hear what your experience has been with it. As a long-time Apple customer and e-book proponent, I want to jump on this latest bandwagon, but I may need some of you to help pull me up.