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.  
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