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Thursday
Jan282010

Why I'm excited about the Apple iPad



I was excited about the idea of an Apple tablet long before the hype began. I remained excited despite the build-up hype. And yes, I'm STILL excited now that the announcement's been made and people are scrambling over each other to dissect, critique and mock.

I'm not a tech guru, so can't defend the iPad against some of the criticisms about what the iPad should have had.

I also don't claim to be an e-reader device expert, so won't attempt to do a detailed comparison of the iPad with other e-readers at this point.

No, I'm not crazy about the name but heck...it's just a name. My focus will be on how well the iPad is going to work for me.

I'm mainly excited about the Apple iPad because of its e-reading possibilities. Yes, it's backlit. But so is the iPhone, and I've been reading e-books on my iPhone for a while now, with dozens of e-books on my virtual bookshelf. I'm looking forward to having a sleek, portable device with more screen space that's easy to carry around. I will always love the sensual joy of holding a print book, but I also love the idea of being able to carry around a library of books without the back strain and arm strain that comes with it. As someone with occasional tendinitis issues, this is a major boon.



I'm disappointed that the iBooks store isn't available in Canada yet, but I figure that since iPhone apps will work on the iPad, I'll just keep reading e-books the way I do now...but on a larger screen. Plus as with the Kindle, I figure Canadians will get access once Apple sorts through the red tape.

The Stanza and e-Reader people probably started revamping their products for the iPad as soon as the specs came out. The iPad's built-in reader supports the ePub standard, a standard adopted by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) as an open-standards-based format for digital books. I'm curious to see how Apple handles copy protection, especially if they'll allow iPad users to import unprotected ePub documents.

I'm also excited by the glimpse of some of the other features we saw in the Apple presentation, especially the calendar. I use iCal right now, and that's a pain to use on a small iPhone screen.

(Update, after talking to Alice Ching-Chew: The iPad would be GREAT for sheet music! Much easier than carrying around my binders of printed out music.)

But most of all, I'm excited about the idea behind the iPad. The science fiction nerd inside me loves the idea of holding so much information and functionality in something the size of a thin book (about 9.5" x 7.5", 1/2 inch deep). I'm excited to see future versions as Apple continues to tweak and improve, and can't wait to see what comes next.

Jeff pointed out that the iPad delivery date roughly coincides with my birthday at the end of March. Yay!

I'm going to be pouring most of my fangirl ravings pre- and post-iPad arrival into @ipadgirl and ipadgirl.posterous.com. Warning: my posts will not always be objective and may occasionally devolve into way too many exclamation marks. If you don't mind that, feel free to follow.

Reader Comments (28)

Not being a techie person (as you know!), I have yet to figure out if I'd be able to write on one of these. What say you? I'm due for a new computer--would I be able to do EVERYTHING on this gizmo?

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBev Katz Rosenbaum

I plan to use the iPad instead of my laptop when I'm out of the house, but I'll probably get an external keyboard/dock instead of using the built-in keyboard if I know I'm going to be doing a lot of writing. For short writing stints, though, I'm going to just take the iPad on its own.

Hard to say, though, until I actually have one in my hands to try out.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInkygirl

And here's some stuff you probably haven't thought of yet, but will be immediately available when the iPad comes:

Instapaper app - If you don't use instapaper, you should. while you are on the computer, you often come across articles you'd like to read, but they are sometimes long and you'd rather get work done than read them right away. Send them to instapaper, and then read them on the iPad later! Perfect! (There's an instapaper app for iPhone and iPod touch, but I'm sure by the time the iPad comes out, they'll be a large screen version too).

MacGourmet - If you have MacGourmet, it already syncs with the iPod Touch and iPhone (with an app from the app store), so you can sync with iPad too. Carry your recipes from your Mac directly into the kitchen.

ComicBookLover - If you read comic books and have ComicBookLover on your mac, it will sync with the iPad. Very convenient, and the iPad has a great screen for reading comic books.

PDFs - I have a lot of PDF books, and being able to read them on that beautiful screen will make them a lot more useful (My Kindle can't read them unless amazon converts them, and then it breaks the formatting. The iPad will render them in their original form).

I could go on and on.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdogboi

Dogboi: I love Instapaper and yes, it's going to be fantastic to have on the iPad. Ooo, must check out MacGourmet. Must also check out ComicBookLover, too! Thanks so much for these pointers.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterInkygirl

Although I can't say I'm all that enthusiastic (given only 64 GB, no camera, still no apps other than iWorks--although I may be one of the few people I know who has used Pages), I *am* encouraged by the Bluetooth capability and being able to put my wireless keyboard next to one. The lack of a keyboard has been my pet peeve on the iPod Touch for ages. Heck, my Palm TX even had a keyboard. If Scrivener would make an app for the iPad though, I think my excitement might ratchet up darn quick.

Ditto on MacGourmet. My husband really likes that app!

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerisa Green

I, too, am super excited about the iPad! We were thinking of getting an e-reader for christmas, but decided to wait for Apple's announcement to come out. Honestly, I'd much rather have the iPad-- with the ability to read books (I already read some on my iPod Touch) but that can also serve as a mini-computer. Woot! =P

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarcy

I won't be getting an iPad but then, it's aimed at a segment that is not mine - it's too large for me to consider it acceptably portable. That's obviously not the case for you. I'd rather have my iPhone.

That said, I have joined in the mocking of the name. It's funny, but it's also sad that they didn't see that coming a long way off. It was my very first thought on seeing the name (which appears to have been the case for the 4-5 of my female coworkers I also talked to).

I'd rather have a good piece of tech with a bad name than vice versa, though. And it does look slick and neat - it's just not in the subset of things I personally think would be useful to me. But I can very much see how, for someone to whom that's a portable size, it would be worth it. (My laptop is not a portable size to me, either, of course. I use its "portability" to move it between two tables in my house. When it dies, I will probably go exclusively to my desktop for home computing and my iPhone or its replacement - whichever the case may be - for mobile computing.)

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Laura: OMG, I didn't even think of Scrivener. That would be so awesome.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdogboi

I'm excited, too, especially about the keyboard!

I was interested to read dogboi's comment above about being able to read PDF's on an iPad. For me, that's an important requirement. You can (supposedly) send a MS to Kindle and it will send it back digitized for the Kindle. I'd like to be able to do that on an iPad. I'm tired of printing out mammoth manuscripts (and their portability is another issue).

The colour and media integration with eBooks could take book publishing in a new direction entirely. I immediately started thinking of an image-rich, video-enhanced version of the novel I'm writing now.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandra Gulland

I'm not incredibly excited but I do love gadgets and I would love something close to a laptop to carry around, instead of my laptop.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

I'm excited about because I travel a lot. I will be able to load up the iPad with books instead of carrying a gazillion of them in my computer bag. (I can never decide on just one book and end up bringing many.) Plus, I can have my calendar and the internet. But what really clinches it for me is that you can buy a word processing program. Seems to me I can put everything I need on it for when I'm away from home.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte Rains Dixon

Sheet music???? Woah. I hadn't thought of that. Tim is currently using a flaky laptop balanced on a music stand to access a lot of his jazz charts... This would be *perfect* for him.

We may also need to buy something on the music account to get our taxes down this year as well. Before the end of March.

Hmmmm.....

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Walker

A couple of years ago, one of my work colleagues was *really* excited about the MacBook Air. Then he looked at the CPU/RAM specs, the price, and expressed a lot of disappointment at what *wasn't* there.

I told him that I felt that the Air was the proof of concept for something coming in a year or two. Something with a fair amount of power, in a very thin space. Something that the sales of the MacBook Air would help fund its further development.

Something completely different.

I think that this is it.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Mac

@Bev: It'll do a lot, but even with the optional keyboard you won't have anywhere near the choice of free software that you'd have on a netbook or laptop. That's because you're limited to what's in the store and what you can get in the way of web applications. At least that's the way it looks at the moment.

If you're satisfied with web-based apps like gmail and Google Apps, I'd say go for it. If you depend on something like Open Office I'd suggest waiting to see what the competition, especially the new crop of Android-based tablets, looks like.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Savitzky

Today I picked up a copy of the German magazine Focus, and was amused to notice that they guessed the name of the device in advance and put it on the cover. ("Nach dem iPhone jetzt das iPad?") This was certainly written at least a couple of weeks ago.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGary McGath

The first thing I thought of after seeing the demo vids was: sheet music.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

A couple of years ago I bought a cheap used (LOL) iBook to see if it would work for me as an alternative to carrying song sheets, but it didn't.

I wonder when custom(ized) stands/holders for the iPad will start showing up? A music stand will surely appear, don't you think? Or maybe a guitar/instrument stand that incorporates a stable holder for the iPad? I'm usually not an "ideas guy" but this one ...

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

This is yet another case of Apple making a shiny toy and convincing everybody that they don't want the things that most people consider essential.

If you can stand reading for more than 30 minutes on this screen, then I guess more power to you for using it as an ebook reader. I just wouldn't even think about it.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert McKay

The power of fiction is in the words powering the imagination. For non-fiction, papers, and magazines I see this being revolutionary - or at least getting us a major step closer to long thought concepts of days gone by.
I for one love the size. I hate doing too much on the little screens of yesterdays stuff and look forward to better visibility. I may even trade in my Franklin binder for one of these.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Grove

Sheet music reader? Holy cow! Why didn't I think of that. IPad, the musicians friend.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWayne

I'm certainly looking forward to using it for sheet music. Considering an ABC editor for generating PDFs, since it's a native format for the iPad.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRick Innis

Terisa,

I do all of my writing in Pages. It's far superior to MicroSloth Office. I used to use Open Office for everything (prefer it to MicroSloth), but IWork doesn't need as much horsepower to run, and it's more comfortable.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWayne

I'd switch to Pages, but for one thing: from what I understand, you can't have "split screen" -- that is, the ability to look at two parts of the same document. I use this all the time. IS it possible in Pages?

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandra Gulland

I hope that iBooks becomes available in Canada. I use my ipod touch right now for everything, all the time. The ipad seems just like a bigger version of my ipod..which is very appealing! Oh, and my birthday is also at the end of March, so it might be fate...gotta have one! ;)

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandra Wickham

Thanks. Finally some positive comments about the ipad. I'm so excited.

February 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

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