The OS Quest Trail Log #48: iPad Anticipation Edition

Apple iPad ImageThe iPad frenzy is in full swing. Shipments are being tracked, store reservations are being confirmed, Apple marketing is trying to set new records in superlative usage, and yes, my iPad is due to arrive on Saturday.

I did have an urge to cancel my pre-order. Mainly because the price puts it in the luxury category for me, even at the base version. I take issue with Apple’s superlative laden adds that keep calling it a “magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price.” Ok, they don’t say “low price” but that’s their implication. And no, I’m not saying they’re overcharging for it. Like I said, I’d put it in the luxury category for me. But please stop implying this is a rock bottom price, especially considering this is a device Apple intends to use to sell us more content. All this hype is turning me off.

The hype I’ve been reading about seems to be emphasizing three uses: video, eBooks, and magazines/ newspapers. The main criticism I’ve seem is that it’s just a large iPod Touch.  I’ll start with the criticism. To me being a large iPod Touch isn’t a bad thing. I like my iPod Touch and just having more screen real estate would be a plus.

As for the three areas of hype – meh. I don’t see myself buying a lot of content to use primarily on the iPad (with one potential exception). I can see me copying some of my existing videos to it when I go on trips but I don’t anticipate a lot of that. I still using my Kindle for eBooks and I hope the rumored Kindle iPod app makes it through the Apple approval gauntlet. There are books that aren’t suitable for the Kindle’s e-paper screen so are limited to the Kindle PC (or Mac) app. Having them available on the a portable device would be a big plus. But I do like the Kindle as a book reader since it’s eeasy on the eyes. I’m skeptical whether I could read a book on the iPad without getting tired or a headache. Reference books or browsing on a PC screen is one thing, but reading a novel is another. So I’m unlikely to buy eBooks though Apple if they’re just limited to the iPad or my Mac. The Touch is to small for extensive book reading (too much scrolling required). Of course, it also depends on price and I’ll no doubt buy one book to try it out (then again, there will be the public domain books, just like on the Kindle).

It’s the magazine/newspaper area that may get me to fork over more money for content, at least the magazine area. The Kindle isn’t a great newspaper reader. It’s just not the same as a real newspaper, which is why my subscription never survived the trial period. It’s OK when I had time to read the content in a linear format. But the way the Kindle handles headlines (strange truncating) doesn’t make for pleasant browsing. The lack of any sort of layout also makes it difficult to notice which articles are intended to stand out. As for magazines, unless it’s a word intensive magazine there’s not much point. All this could be improved upon if properly implemented on the iPad. But then there’s price for this content, which appears to be all over the place. If publishers want to put ads in their magazines it’s fine with me, assuming they avoid intrusive tactics like pop-ups.

I currently use my iPod Touch for checking email around the house and a little web surfing and the iPad is a natural for that. But if I’m going to get my money’s worth out of the Kindle it’s going to be my own content (PDFs maybe) and some apps that haven’t even seen but will take advantage of the iPad in ways not possible on the Touch.

So the iPad should arrive Sunday. While I’ll be home to take delivery it’ll be a busy weekend and I might not have much time to play with it. On Friday and Saturday I’m stuck doing the weekend of work for a project and then Sunday it’s Easter with the family. So if the iPad lives up to its hype I may have to take time out of what’s usually reserved for sleep.

In other (non-iPad) news…

I upgraded my cell phone to a Motorola Droid last week. I’m still getting used to it but so far I like it. It doesn’t hurt that despite being a more capable phone I actually lowered my monthly bill.

It’s been a busy couple of months with the day job so even though I haven’t written much for this site, there’s not a lot I’ve been having fun with that hasn’t already been made it to the site. Hoping to get into having some fun with the computers real soon.