Saturday, November 13, 2010

iPad vs. Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader

All my life, I have been an early adopter when it comes to new electronic gadgets or technology.  But because the iPad seemed to offer mostly redundant services already being handled by my iMac, iPod and Sony Reader, I haven’t been all that intrigued by it.  That all changed last night when I visited my local Apple store and was helped by a young man who actually knew what he was talking about.  He answered all of my questions, addressed all my doubts, and I walked out of the place with my very own iPad…didn’t see that one coming because I was there only to pick up a new USB/Dock cord for my iPod.

My first impression of the iPad, what it does and how it does it, is very positive.

My only complaint is that transferring files from the Mac to the iPad is not all that intuitive of a process – despite what it says on the back of that tiny little information card that comes with the device.  Why do computer companies so adamantly refuse to provide written documentation these days?  I, for one, really miss the old fashioned user’s manual and wonder how many hours of my life I’ve wasted trying to find answers online when a hardcopy manual would have done the trick so much better and faster..

I’m pretty much done with the file transfer now, and I’m to the point of playing with my new toy.  I’ve downloaded applications for the Nook, the Kindle and Apple’s iBooks, and they all work well.  One of the coolest things about these readers is that Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Apple allow sample chapters to be downloaded at no charge – even for new books and bestsellers. 

As a result, I’ve done a good bit of reading today without making a dent in what I had planned to finish up this weekend.  I’ve read substantial sections of George W. Bush’s Decision Points, Bob Woodward’s Obama’s Wars, Vince Flynn’s American Assassin and Bill O’Reilly’s Pinheads and Patriots.  I am unlikely to buy any of these four books, but now I have a good feel for their content and style, and that pleases me. 

How much do I like the iPad?  Let’s put it this way: I have an almost new Sony Reader that has a few dozen books downloaded to it.  It cost me almost $400 even without the books – and I’m willing to sell it, books included, for $200 (or the most reasonable offer I get).  If y’all know anyone in the market for an e-book reader, I’m your guy. 

By the way, I got the cheapest of the current crop of iPads, the one that has a 16-gig hard drive and connects to the web only via WiFi.  I expect it to be all I need for a good while – at least until the next big thing hits the market.  


  1. Sam, I just posted a really long comment and blogger went down.

    I will just say that you will love the IPad. I bought a Kindle back in June before I knew that I was getting the IPad. I use the Kindle for outside reading and the IPad for nighttime reading.

    I bought GW's book. Did you read David Limbaugh's book?

  2. I prefer the iPad... It just seems like the "copies" is good when they arrive, but with the next release of iPads they are behind again... lots of competions this days to win one as well, if you don't have one... Have you noticed the new campaign from the it security company Sophos… easy to win if you like to share things... :)

  3. The I pad is great but its made for more than just reading. The only 2 complaints are it washes out in sunlight and your eyes fatigue if reading for a long time. in that respect e ink is much easier on the eyes

  4. Melanie, after a full weekend with the iPad, I'm convinced that I will love the thing. It is the perfect size for lots of applications and will be used when I don't need to run the software on my Mac.

    I am, though, frustrated with the file transfer requirements to get stuff from the Mac to the iPad. I think that was poorly designed and I hope Apple comes up with a better idea soon. I'm finding, too, that iBooks will not open books I already own if they are in the epub format...only if they are PDF. That's not a big deal but I don't like Apple's doing it for "ownership" and copyright issues. I already bought the the damn thing.

    I haven't read the Limbaugh book...haven't even looked at it yet. How is it?

  5. Anonymous, I'm used to getting screwed later on. That's part of being an early adopter. In fact, I have a closet full of first generation stuff that I no longer use...but it was sure fun to use the stuff when it was new. Some of the hardware got better in later generations...some disappeared completely and is not even supported any longer by the manufactuers.

  6. Bill, I will use the iPad mainly for connecting to the net for browsing purposes and for checking email. I also upload a lot of video to YouTube and I find that the iPad is great for watching those videos. The sound is pretty good and the larger screen size is such that it does not lessen the quality of the video too noticeably.

    As a ebook reader, it's good to know that it's there and that I can get hold of many of the free classics and book samples when I want them. I did purchase a book last night via iTunes...just to see how the process works.

    I don't use these devices outdoors very often, so I don't see the fade out being a big problem...but I certainly understand that it is a major problem for those who want to read outdoors.

    I haven't noticed the eye fatigue problem you mentioned (caused by the bright screen) but my eyes are always tired from reading too much...maybe it can't get any worse for them. :-)

  7. Congratulations on the purchase of your iPAD. I'm very intrigued by the device but will stick to my Kindle for now. I like that I can read it in the brightest of sunlight with no glare. I've got my small laptop for everything else so not sure why I need an iPAD but I know I want one!

  8. I hear you, Kathleen. That's what I figured, too. Now that I've had it for a few days, though, I'm starting to wonder how I managed without it.