Mia Eaton takes a break from the topic of Twitter to explore the bookish possibilities of Apple's new iPad.
I promise to pick up our Twitter conversation
next week, but I'd be totally remiss in my techie duties if I didn't write about the iPad
today. I got mine on Saturday night, and by Sunday morning I was using it to read LIT
slush on a bench in the sun outside my favorite brunch spot. It was pretty awesome.
Before I dive in, I need to admit I've been annoyed with people who feel the need to announce where they stand on the whole buying one
thing, as if everybody had to decide right now and get all defensive about it. Speaking only for myself, I'm pretty much exactly the type of person who has to
So, all I want to do is present you with information
, first impressions
, and more first impressions
so that you can make your own decision. When I'm done, you'll either want one like you wanted a pony as a child, or you'll at least know enough about them to appreciate that the iPad is indeed an interesting step in computer evolution.
For years, the way I've used computers and devices has been a stretch of their limitations. Unless I'm working-working, laptops are too cumbersome, hot, and fragile, but smartphones (even the iPhone) are too clunky, claustrophobic, and limiting. The iPad is a wonderful intermediary computer, a bridge device that solves some problems you've thought of (like being uncomfortable reading slush while sitting at your desk, but not wanting to make wasteful printouts to take to bed) and offers a world of delight you probably haven't yet dreamed of.
If you're the type of person who bought a laptop so you could read in bed or carry it into the kitchen to follow recipes or watch Netflix, if you like to surf, chat, or Google while watching TV on the couch, if you like to play Scrabble or other games on your iPhone, if you like your Kindle but wish it did a million other things or that you weren't limited to Kindle-only eBooks, then I can tell you the iPad could well be your shiny new best friend.
Will it save publishing? No
, but no one thing will. Is the key board hard to use? Not for me, but for lots of people, it is, so there's also one you can attach. Can you "create content" on it? That depends on what you mean by content
At the very least, the iPad is for readers. Says Salon's Laura Miller
, "The futuristic device provides an ideal sanctuary for the most old-fashioned leisure activity." The free iBooks app is pretty lovely, and you should also read Ryan Chapman's
report. He and I both lament the continuing problem of title selection. This will remain a problem on eReaders for some time as publishers decide if and how to catch up, but the good news is three-fold. One, the iPad uses the epub format, which is open source (not tied to a specific device or retailer) and allows any work digitized in epub to be functional on the iPad. The iPad also has a Kindle app, which means if you're already a Kindle owner, you can transfer your Kindle books, and also buy new ones from Amazon and load them straight onto the iPad. A third option is that some books/works are being released as stand-alone iPad apps. All of this allows for the best of all possible, though still limited, eBook worlds. And though it sounds simple, I'm so relieved and grateful that it has a button to lock the orientation, so when you lie on your side, the page doesn't flip around trying to figure out what you want. Wish my iPhone could do that.
There are apps galore for reading whatever it is you like to read. Marvel
's comic app is beautiful, and various magazines
have had varying degrees of success creating iPad reinventions of their physical selves. The NYTimes app
, in my experience thus far, is a real pleasure. For your charming bedtime-story-telling pleasure, there is "A Story Before Bed
And if you're wondering how technically inclined one must be to use one, check out this adorable video of a 2.5 year old using one for the first time
. Come to think of it, if you have kids, there's an amazing array of kid-friendly games and edutainment apps, and the only down side is they'll probably fight over who gets to play with it.
That kinda reminds me of me and my husband attempting to take civilized turns using our brand-new iPad, unless one of us gets our own.