Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Why I Want an iPad

Everyone else is writing about this new device, so I thought I'd join in. I know I mentioned that I was next going to blog about James Dashner's The Maze Runner. Next time, okay?

So, why do I want an iPhad, er, I mean iPad? Well, when the Sony ebook reader came out, I was intrigued. Probably because I'm a gadget addict and anything electronic with buttons on it fascinates me (Ooh, shiny!). I looked at one and liked the idea of being able to easily read ebooks on something besides a computer screen. You can't take a computer, even a laptop, into bed at night and snuggle up to it. I know some people love their Macbooks enough to do that, but not me. Anyway, then I looked at the price. $500? You gotta be freakin' kidding! All it does is read books? So I passed.

Later, I got to thinking that if it were a little cheaper and played mp3 files, I might go for it. They did gradually come down in price, but I still didn't want to pay $200 for something that could only do ebooks.

Then I started checking out the iPod Touch. It was small and could do ebooks and music, but the screen was too small to see much. As it is, I do have a Blackberry that can do ebooks, but I quickly decided that I would rather have a much bigger screen.

Then Steve Jobs made his big announcement. The functionality of an iPod Touch on a larger screen. Perfect! I drooled with anticipation. Then the price came out; $500+. Drat! A little on the spendy side for me, but with all the apps available, it might be worth it.

So I made a shopping list of features I want: be able to read pdf graphic files so that I can put music pdfs on it, be able to load via USB or SD card, to have a word processor that would be good enough for when I get writing ideas while on the road.

A funny thing happened on the way home today. My car somehow swerved off the road and landed in the Best Buy parking lot. I don't know how it happened. Honest. Okay, my wife didn't believe that either. Anyway, since I was there, I figured I might as well go in and see what this new gadget was like.

As an ebook reader, I think it will be great. It was easy to read and operate. I didn't try out the music functionality, but I'm sure it's fine. The web surfing went well, though that is not a feature that I must have. I knew going in that it didn't have a USB port, and I forgot to ask about the adapter that you can get for importing digital pictures. I was wondering if it can be used to import other data. I did ask about the pdf graphic function and the guy didn't know. From the Safari browser, pull up a text pdf on the internet and it looked fine. I couldn't think of any sites that had graphic pdfs off the top of my head, so I left it at that. Besides, others were waiting for their chance to drool on the new machines.

The big disappointment was the touch keyboard. Maybe it can be adjusted, but it was too sensitive for me. I ended up typing a lot of characters I never intended. Perhaps it just takes practice, like picking up a new instrument, but I'm getting too old to learn new tricks. The ergonomics were a little compressed, too, but I expected that.

Will I buy an iPad? Not yet. For one thing, iBroke. If I had the money, would I still buy it? I don't know. The keyboard thing is a big issue for me, and it defeats the purpose if you have to lug around an external keyboard. Do I want one? Heck, yeah. After all, it has 'buttons' (so to speak) and it's cool. Plus, it's shiny.

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