After a lot of intrigue, gossip and anticipation details of the much awaited Apple ‘tablet’ was announced overnight. The iPad as they’re calling it, is a predictably gorgeous piece of hardware. It’s got the same touch screen functionality of the iPod and iPhone, and is clearly their big brother. Judging by what I've seen and read it's about the size of a trade paperback I figure, and about the thickness of a 80 page novella – it’s less than a centimetre thick. It’s got all the functionality and connectivity of the iPhone, except you can’t make a call on it (which, less face it, is the most boring of the iPhone functionality), and like the iPhone and iPod uses the iTunes store as the one stop shop for all manner of goodies, from the plethora of apps, to music and movies, and, I presume, soon to be ebooks.
In actual fact the iPad rides the crest of a fair to middling wave for ebook readers. Amazon’s Kindle has been out a few years and is a reasonably elegant if plain piece of work. Sony has been in the market for a while also, and by all reports there is about to be an explosion of ebook readers hitting the market.
It’s hard to believe that they haven’t missed their chance. The iPad is about to blow them all out of the water you would think, with only the low-cost models having a market.
The iPad isn’t a PC, but it’s not far short of it. You can browse the web and read your email and listen to your music – and read ebooks – while taking advantage of the myriad apps you can download to it. Unlike the specialised ebook readers this is multi-functional, and therefore likely to be used more more widely and more often, making it better value for money in the long term. And it’s prettied up in that beautiful Apple way.
In terms of the ebook market,l you would have to think given their experience and expertise that iTunes will soon become the pre-eminent portal for ebooks across the web. Seriously, I don’t know how the likes of Amazon can compete unless they corner the cheap end of the market, or they value-add somehow.
In actual fact this is the product I’ve been after for years. Yonks ago the Apple Newton came out – a very rough predecessor – and died in the arse in a big way. The time wasn’t right then, it is now. For years I’ve been travelling OS with a laptop in my bag. Even the lightest are towards 2 kilograms, and all that for a few basic functions I wanted to perform away. The iPad has all I need for my travel needs, and more, and is 0.7 of a kilo, with inbuilt connectivity. I want one, I want one bad, but I’m going to try and restrain myself from being first in. Won’t be long after though.
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