One of the biggest challenges to not living in the United States is the additional wait time for all Apple technology releases. For some reason, we’re always a few months behind. So I’ve only had my iPad (64GM, 3G enabled) since June. During that time, I’ve realized a few key things about it.
1) Reading books on a backlit screen is challenging. Indoors, it’s fine. Outdoors, there’s glare that only gets worse in bright sunlight. The saving grace is reading at night in the dark — then the backlit screen is wonderful.
2) The iPad is very heavy compared to the other e-readers I’ve tried (Sony, Kobo, Nook, & Kindle). And heavy is the last thing you want in a portable reading device, as it reminds you too much of a p-book.
3) It’s totally fun to play free downloadable games on it. (Many hours of mindless distraction later, I still keep gravitating back to solitare.)
4) It holds a ton of music and video, and syncs my calendar, contacts, and multiple email accounts. Plus it can take notes and access web pages, not to mention the 200,000+ apps that do things I didn’t even know were missing from my life. The recent firmware upgrade has added some nice functionality.
The iPad was never meant to be an e-book reader only. The iBookstore is a good add-on for Apple, but it will never make them much money. The publishing industry doesn’t need to worry as much as the music industry did about iTunes (that was a game changer).
What the iPad really does is make laptops and mini-computers obsolete. It’s a completely new way to interact with information; iPod Touches were just the starting point. With the next generation of iPads coming next year, Apple is poised to dominate again. The other options in the market (Galaxy Tab, etc.) just reinforce that it isn’t about reading – it’s about portable connectivity and entertainment. Makes me feel all Star Trekker just thinking about it.