I fell in love immediately. Or, was it just a passing lust?
Today I'm trying to figure out whether iPad and me are going to have a long-term relationship, or whether my instant attraction to her was a passing thing.
Ms. iPad is unavailable at the moment. Reportedly it's going to be a couple of months before I could bring her home and start feeling her up (the iPad is like an iPod Touch or iPhone on steroids -- similarly controlled by a touch screen rather than keyboard or mouse).
The iPad is indisputably sexy and beautiful.
Over the past 24 hours I've read enough instant reviews and watched enough videos of the iPad to know that she's my type, along with my iPod Touch, iPhone, and MacBook laptop (ooh, I could be on the edge of an Apple foursome!).
But here's the thing: the iPad is fairly pricey, $449 to $829, not counting possible add-ons and a potential cellular agreement. I need her to be more than a pretty plaything.
I have an iPhone with all kinds of apps. I have a 13 inch MacBook with all kinds of programs (plus a CD/DVD drive, USB ports, and other stuff the iPad lacks). So why do I need -- as contrasted with lust for -- a 10 inch iPad that basically is an iPhone/MacBook hybrid?
Watching the iPad rollout yesterday, at first I was wowed by how photos, emails, web sites, maps, and such could be manipulated on this snazzy touchscreen tablet. It even has iWork. Wow!
Except, after a little reflection, un-wow. I already have Pages and the other iWork applications. I already have iPhoto. I'm happy with how Mail works on my MacBook. My iPhone has GPS and I don't feel like forking out for another spendy cellular data plan.
So what's going to make me buy an iPad after I get the word that it's available for purchase?
One thing: a great, or at least very good, e-reader (or e-book) application.
I returned a Kindle 2 about a year ago after deciding that I wasn't ready to take the plunge into reading books on a screen. Then I looked long and hard at the Nook when it was released, but wasn't really turned on by it.
The iPad's iBooks app looks promising, but I've got some questions about it. Notably, and this may sound picky but it is super important to me, can you easily highlight and ideally also annotate a passage in a book?
This first impression of iBooks disturbs me:
A limitation definitely dictated by the ePUB standard is the lack of facilities to highlight or annotate passages of text in a book. Despite much lobbying, the ePUB standards group hasn’t defined how annotations etc should be held within a book. The iPad with iBooks will be severely limited within the educational and academic arenas without the ability to highlight and annotate.
Yeah, no kidding.
Also within the non-fiction book-reading arena, where I am a daily player. As noted before, I'm addicted to highlighting. I was counting on Apple to recognize that a touchscreen would be well-suited to drag a finger across highlighting.
If something like this isn't available on the iPad, Apple probably has lost me. (Are you listening, Apple sales department? You've still got time to request software changes.)
As I see it, the basic problem with the iPad is that it isn't a must-have like the iPhone was for millions of people. There is no amazing oh my God! new killer application that makes me say "I've absolutely got to get an iPad."
If it is a markedly better e-book reader than the competition in this area, I'll happily get out my VISA card. But the jury is still out on this iPad application. I'm eager to learn more about iBooks.