The obligatory discussion of the iPad

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The obligatory discussion of the iPad

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Edited: Jan 27, 2010, 4:09 pm

Promo video:

Keynote video not yet out.

Blog coverage:

My thoughts:

1. Reading webpages looks attractive.
2. Price is attractive.
3. Size/resolution not actually that great—it's the standard old-monitor 1024 by 768.
4. Overall, I'm not crazy into it. But then I'm a laptop guy—I bring mine places most people only take their iPhone, or nothing. If market goes for it, it could be very interesting.

LibraryThing-ish Thoughts

1. No camera, or it could have been a bitching book cataloging device.
2. In theory, it has a USB device, so it could read CueCats. Not sure if the drivers will work. LT app. could make that work, though.
3. LibraryThing will run nicely on it. We should spend time making it perfect(1)
4. A LibraryThing app would make it nicer, although not clear yet what the advantages would be. Integration with iBooks?
5. iBooks is a let-down. No features. There's probably annotations, although they didn't show it.
6. iBooks is a small part of the pitch. eBook people have to face it—they're a sliver of a sliver.

1. we're helped by the fact that LT developers all design on Safari, which has the same engine everywhere.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:09 pm

It looks too big : ( This is not something I'd carry on a metro system anywhere. No privacy and probably not safe to carry.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:13 pm

Not interested. I didn't appreciate Jobs' comment that netbooks are just "cheap laptops"; I'd rather he make a nicer but smaller real computer than a big iPod.

I'm also assuming it's a regular backlit screen rather than e-ink, so I don't see this taking over the ebook market anytime soon, especially since you say the book part is an afterthought.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:19 pm

Anyone who thought that Apple's new device was just an e-reader was always going to be wrong. Apple doesn't think that small.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:19 pm

> 1
1. No camera, or it could have been a bitching book cataloging device.

Why do you need a camera to catalogue books?

Jan 27, 2010, 4:20 pm

Wondering if anybody got details on the iBooks app that will be included in the iPad for reading digital books?

Any chance we will be able to add content from other content providers the way iTunes let's us organize our music library? I hope it's not limited to content on the iBookstore.

This might be the feature that makes me decide if I purchase the iPad or not.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:20 pm

>3 _Zoe_:

Jobs said that a Netbook was a "cheap laptop"?

Wow, I'm glad I don't work for Apple anymore...

I was under the impression that a cheap laptop was a notebook computer that wasn't sold by Apple. (,;;,)

Jan 27, 2010, 4:21 pm

Background: I love technology; I'm a Web/iPhone/mobile developer for a living. On the flip side, I love books. Like, actual, extant books. So it's an interesting conflict.

I bought a Kindle (the second version). I had it for a few months. I pretty much hated it, and ended up selling it on Craigslist. I liked the eInk for its readability, but disliked most other things about the device: the slowness, the ugliness, the poor Web browser, and, most essentially, that it did not have a touchscreen.

The iPad rectifies most of these problems, but I'm keen to know about the annotations. I wanted to use my Kindle as a sort of lap-side research assistant: mostly reading non-fiction, taking notes, and then looking up tangential topics (mostly on Wikipedia, but also elsewhere). So, nominally, this could work.

But, even as an Apple user, I'm not absolutely blown away. I'm still pretty attached to the physicality of the codex form factor. They only announced 5 initial publisher "partnerships" so I'm concerned about the breadth of the available catalog.

I'll probably be getting one of these: As a co-founder of a mobile development company, I technically need one for research and development. I just hope it is up to snuff in the eReader department! And I don't see it replacing my Sunday Times, despite the NYT demo they flaunted.

I realize I'm a serious niche user: tech geek and book lover simultaneously. So it's hard for me to tell how this will do!


Jan 27, 2010, 4:21 pm

>5 lilithcat:.

Barcodes. Let machines do the heavy lifting and sifting.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:23 pm

> 9

Sorry, you've lost me.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:24 pm

Sorry to break in with my Pollyanna outlook, but come on! I love my iPod touch for surfing the web and reading books, and my only complaint is that the screen is small. Problem solved! I'm really tempted to get one- I don't think it would completely replace my laptop at first, but it's only a matter of time. Smaller, lighter, and better battery life than I'm used to.

I do agree about the camera though. I'm wondering if the next generation will add that in if we all beg and plead. :)

Jan 27, 2010, 4:24 pm

I just tried to search for "iBooks" in the App store. The result page asked me "Did you mean iboobs?"
I guess the app isn't out for iPhone yet…

Jan 27, 2010, 4:24 pm

I don't agree about eInk. In theory, you can read your Kindle outside, but how often do you do that? I find the Kindle reading experience to be like "wet newsprint," and the iPhone better, except for being small. The iPad will have the same resolution as the iPhone—132ppi—so I expect the reading experience to be pretty good.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:25 pm

>10 lilithcat:.

Use the integrated camera to snap a picture of a book's barcode (when present) to get instant bibliographic information, saving your fingers the precious typing, and your eyes the precious reading time.

Or, I suppose, you could snap a pic of the cover and run it through Google Goggles, if no barcode.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:26 pm

>11 MissWoodhouse1816:.

It supports Bluetooth. Are there any BT cameras out there?

Jan 27, 2010, 4:27 pm

iPhone barcode reading is still a fairly slow and unsatisfying experience, I find. CueCats are faster. But to the extent it works, you're handicapped by being unable to enter other data easily. The iPhone is a bad input device for text. So, having a camera AND decent text-entry would make be good. Having a camera to take cover shots would complete my world.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:27 pm

> 12

There's an "iboobs" app? I'm insanely curious as to what that might be!


Jan 27, 2010, 4:31 pm

Tangent: I don't have iBoobs, but I got some boob-related app. I wanted to see what was beating local books—we're getting killed by boob this and boob that.

Except they're not porn per se. Apple has a rule against actual nudity, so you get lots of bikini apps. The best send-up is the local (Portland, ME) developers who made a not-porn app by taking classic nude paintings and putting colorful bikinis on them.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:33 pm

>19 timspalding:.

Is it possible people are just misspelling "book" and buying the wrong apps?

Jan 27, 2010, 4:35 pm

iBooks isn't the only e-reader app for the iPhone OS. I use Stanza ( ), which uses epub files (and has a computer application that will export documents to that format). Porting iPhone apps to work on the iPad should be really simple, and there will be lots of options depending on what your needs are for an e-reader application.
For articles and short stories, an application like Instapaper ( ) will be useful.
The iPad may not be the holy grail for electronic reading, but it will be a great device in the field, precisely because it is not just an e-reader.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:36 pm

I don't own, but I've borrowed and played with a Kindle. I really like the e-ink. I thought reading a normal screen would be too onerous, but I've since read several books on my iPod Touch and the only thing that bothers me about it is the size which makes it so that I have to swipe to a new page way too often. The iPad definitely addresses that.

E-books may be a small part of the pitch, but they may not be left out. It depends on how Apple handles them. It would have been nice to hear more about iBooks, its features and compatibility. The fact that it uses epub format means that it might play well with free ebooks and ebooks from other sources, but that remains to be seen. And part of the pitch was that it will run any iPhone application. If that includes the Kindle application, Stanza, and the Borders application, there will be little reason to buy any e-book reader other than the iPad except price and/or if you really need the e-ink look. And for all the other things the iPad does, I think price may be an easy issue to overcome for anyone who can afford it.

I don't know that it's revolutionary. It really is just a big iPod Touch. But for me that may do the trick. I've used my iPod to read books, watch videos, and read comics. It's capable of all of that, but the size is really what makes the experience less than pleasant. A camera would have been nice, as would the ability to run multiple applications at once, but I think it's handy as is. I can't wait until it hits the market and we get to hear some real-world, hands on experiences.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:43 pm

I think it's amazing looking. Not sure how great it would be to type on, but I could totally imagine taking notes/playing with this in class and reading on it. My wonder is what the Canadian pricing scheme will look like, and the battery life?

Jan 27, 2010, 4:43 pm

>21 fontgoddess: My one concern is how Apple might handle these other eBook readers. I have Kindle, Stanza, and Instapaper on my iPod, and would love to use them with a bigger screen but in Apple's Ap store they have routinely rejected applications because they "duplicate existing functionality." Now that selling eBooks is becoming "existing functionality." I hope Apple doesn't pull the plug on these other applications.

Edited: Jan 27, 2010, 4:45 pm

>22 Rob_E:. Rob_E

I agree--it might not be that this is a revolutionary eReader, as such, but that it simply has a big touchscreen and the right support. Really, in my opinion, its lack of a touch screen and gestures/multi-touch that killed the Kindle for me. WOE to anyone who tries to read a book with lots of footnotes or figures on a Kindle. WOE WOE WOE.

Well, also that it looked like a 1970s-era calculator. But anyway.

Well, also that the ability to render images was virtually nil.

Well, also that it was slow as mud and a confusing UI.


Jan 27, 2010, 4:49 pm

>23 Kira:. Kira

Quote from Steve Jobs via the Endgadget coverage: "What is the battery life like? We've been able to achieve 10 hours of battery life. I can take a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo and watch video the whole time. And it has over a month of standby time."

If it's true that you can get 10 hours of video, then I'm guessing you can do considerably better than that for eBooks, but time will tell. I frequently use my iPod when it's plugged in, so if that 10 hours is anywhere close to correct, that seems like plenty for me. I never fly to Tokyo anyway.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:51 pm

>24 Rob_E: I hope that Apple doesn't mess with established apps. They have to know that iBooks won't have the features that some people want or need, and that some people will prefer the apps they are already familiar with.

Jan 27, 2010, 4:54 pm

>26 Rob_E: That sounds good! My other concern with battery life would be how quickly it wouldn't last 10 hours and would drop off significantly. Both my (non-Apple) laptop and iPod nano started off with great battery life less than 2 years ago and now have very little battery life at full charging. Admittedly I am hard on both of them, but to me that's the point of multi-purpose devices, to see a lot of use... If I am going to be reading a screen I don't want to have to choose between dimming the screen and squinting or not being able to finish reading an article.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:06 pm

I've seen people commenting here and other places saying that this product is unremarkable. May I just mention the responses to a few other "unremarkable" product launches:

The iPod: "It's just an expensive MP3 player."
The iPhone: "It's just another phone with a fancy interface."

Needless to say, both of these products have changed the landscape in each of their respective marketplaces. Apple has a knack for doing that. The products aren't necessarily creating completely new product categories, they just take every good thing about every other product in various categories and roll them into a single product with a great package that does it all, thereby making the previous giants in said categories play catch-up (see Sony Walkman, Motorola cell phones, etc. etc.). I think the same thing will hold true here. the iPad will change the game in various categories, one of those being the ereader market.

I mentioned on twitter that Kindle is dead if they (Amazon) don't do something fast. They tried to do a preemptive strike last week with a developer SDK pre-announcement but it turned out to be complete idiocy when you read the actual usage details. They have to do something real. And that wasn't it.

In the ereader market it will all come down to the stores and availability of content. Will the Kindle store outweigh the obviously more attractive iPad device (it's more than JUST a reader, after all) and the iBooksStore? We don't know yet. Apple has announced partnerships with 4 major US publishers (and one would assume various other smaller houses) but that's all we know for sure. Time will tell.

As for general use, I certainly see the iPad being a viable alternative for general computers for many, many people. When you get down to it there really aren't that many people who do more than browse the internet and do a little word processing, spreadsheeting at home. This device is perfect for all of that. The iWork announcement, while completely boring, was a nod to all of those users (the keyboard helps too). I think they'll do quite well there.

It's certainly not perfect. The lack of a camera ranks right up there with the lack of a dedicated GPS on the original iPhone. Both decisions that I simply cannot comprehend. I was right when I said it when the iPhone was launched and I'm right now. I suspect there will be a camera (maybe two) on the next generation iPad. It would be invaluable to making the device a great portable video conferencing solution. The dock connector could solve this issue: just plug in an external camera and away you go. That's not the "Apple way" though.

I'd also like to see an OS-level file browser so that the machine could be used at a more "general" level. Likewise, multitasking...which I would guess is coming relatively soon to the OS. That's software though. It could be changed at any time.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:09 pm

>28 Kira:. Kira

I think that's pretty typical of battery life. My understanding is that modern, lithium ion batteries measure their lifespan in terms of recharge cycles -- the more time you spend using battery power, the more recharge cycles you use up, and the closer your battery gets to not holding a decent charge. That's why I plug my iPod in while I'm sitting at my desk.

This is how I think Apple handles their current iPod batteries and might be what we can expect from the iPad:
They will have published expectations of battery life.
They will have an acceptable loss of battery life over the course of a year. Say 20% (for example, I have no idea what the number is off the top of my head). If, within the first year, your battery life drops below that, you can replace it under warranty.
I think they also have a two year number for people who buy the Apple Care. Not sure about that.
And, of course, they will sell you a new battery and charge you to replace it if you're not covered by the warranty.
But they will have upgraded the device twice by then, and will be counting on the fact that you will opt to spring for the new model instead.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:12 pm

The last thing I bought from Apple was a Performa series Mac, and I think I'm gonna let that stand for a while. Maybe just until I die.

I think I'd have to see e-ink, even to be willing to call it a reader. I just don't see myself curling up to the icy glow of an i-screen for hours on end. I'm not hot and bothered for touch screens, anyway... Sorta asking to squint through fingerprints, and I don't get enough benefit to make up for that.

I really don't think the price is attractive. What exactly does it do that my netbook doesn't for two hundred less? Actually, scratch that. My netbook does come with a camera. And a keyboard. I wouldn't call it heavy-duty computing, but heck. It fits in my purse.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:19 pm

Need to reply at greater length, but Chris (conceptdawg) is right about predictions. I think, if it does well, it will be transformative. It's not inherently so. But then few things are.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:20 pm

Here is the best article I could find that covers the iBooks application:

Edited: Jan 27, 2010, 5:22 pm

#31, I think the lack of a keyboard is a good thing. The on-screen display would give the ability of a keyboard without the weight/space. 1.5 pounds sounds amazing as a tradeoff, as does the thinness, meaning I could put it in a purse with textbooks and all even easier than a netbook.

I agree this isn't a 'reader'. I think it would replace my laptop more than my books.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:33 pm

Will the Kindle store outweigh the obviously more attractive iPad device (it's more than JUST a reader, after all) and the iBooksStore?

I don't think this greater attractiveness is obvious at all. The iPad still costs two or three times as much as a Kindle. Instead of a top-end iPad, I could buy an iPod, a Kindle, and a netbook that could function as my only computer. As a matter of fact, I already have an iPod and a netbook that functions as my only computer. Other than the very questionable improvement of a back-lit screen over eInk, what is the iPad offering me that I don't already have in order to justify the extra cost?

The one thing that appeals to me is the very inexpensive data plan.

>31 karhne: My thoughts exactly.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:36 pm

#35, It's offering you it all in one. Sure you can have an iPod and a netbook. Just like you can have an ordinary phone and an iPod, but people instead have an iPhone for the purpose of putting it all together nicely.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:37 pm

From my perspective, the best thing about this is that it should force Amazon to abandon its proprietary ebook format.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:42 pm

>36 Kira: The thing is, this isn't a netbook. As far as I know, it doesn't have the basic functionality of a computer. What exactly is it supposed to be able to do?

Jan 27, 2010, 5:42 pm

Exactly. For some (though not all people) this single device can replace their Kindle, netbook, iPod, and laptop. That's pretty impressive from a system-design perspective. We'll see how it plays out.

Edited: Jan 27, 2010, 5:43 pm

Well, what TASKS do you use your netbook for? That's the better question. Chances are this this device can do all of them.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:55 pm

33: from the link prices range from $8-$15 per book. So much for Apple putting downward pressure on the ebook prices. Not that it's terribly useful for me I assume that Voice Over Apple's text-to-speech program will be locked out of iBooks much like how publishers refuse to allow speech on the Kindle.

Edited: Jan 27, 2010, 5:59 pm

I enjoyed Tycho's (from Penny-Arcade) take on the whole "Apple's not really making anything new" debate so much I have to repost it here:
I got my Zune a few days before the iPhone was announced.

It was a smartly manifested little brick to be sure, its combination of brown and green oddly compelling, but the iPhone represented an object so profound that multiple industries were warped by its mere proximity. You could hate the company utterly, vomiting at the sight of their vile and bitten crest, and then still tumble to this assertion's fundamental truth: that their portable computer, which is also a phone and a bunch of other shit, changed the world.

Now they want to make a really big version of it, to which I say yes.

UPS is telling me that my Nook will arrive on the 25th, just two days before (most people believe) Apple is set to announce their thing, which is awesome. This is more or less how it always happens when I decide to make my move on a piece of technology. I'll try to find something ironic to read on it before it catches on fire, burning itself out of existence.

It's got to be so annoying to compete with Apple, at anything really, because it's not like they're doing something fucking crazy. Everybody's had these ideas before. The difference, and this is grim if you are a competitor, but the difference is that everyone else spends a lot of time (and often, money) determining why those things aren't possible. And then it comes out, for real, only you didn't make it. Some other guys did. And when you come out with what is (on paper) a better version of the same thing, maybe even multiple times over, it's too late. You made a "product" to compete with their "product," tastefully arranging your regiment, only to discover that they hadn't made a product at all - they made a narrative. A statement about how technology should interface with a life.

I'm not saying this to be mean, or get my kicks, or to engage in psychic vampirism. Competing with these fucking people must be a genuinely harrowing state of affairs.

Jan 27, 2010, 5:59 pm

>34 Kira:. Kira

Agreed. No keyboard is a plus, especially since one exists as an option. This may be a lot more than just an e-reader, but it's the e-reader functionality that I've been looking forward to. A keyboard just gets in the way when what you most want to do is read. I read somewhere, too, that it would also work with a bluetooth keyboard, which means if I'm actually sitting on the sofa and want to type something more lengthy than what I'd like to type on the virtual keyboard, I can prop the iPad up on the coffee table and type away.

>35 _Zoe_: Certainly it won't appeal to everyone. Nothing will. But, while I thought e-Ink was the bee's knees the first time I saw it, I haven't really found the lack of e-Ink tech in my iPod to prevent me from reading on it, sometimes for long periods of time. And I love the fact that I set the print to white text on black, I can read at night in bed without keeping my wife up. Also, while a lot of my reading does consist of text only, there are some books/magazines/comics I would never find useful on the Kindle because they are largely visual and sometimes color-dependent. I like the Kindle, and I was on the verge of getting one for a while, but I held off to see what Apple was going to do, and I'm glad I did. It is still too early to tell, but at first glance, I think this will quell my desire for a Kindle, a laptop, and an iPhone. That's a three-for-one, and it seems like it may end up being well worth it to me.

Jan 27, 2010, 6:08 pm

Exactly. For some (though not all people) this single device can replace their Kindle, netbook, iPod, and laptop.

You've unnecessarily expanded this list just to make it seem more impressive. I said earlier that my netbook has already replaced my laptop, and I don't think I'm alone in this.

I don't think it will really replace the iPod. There's still something to be said for a portable music player. Even though the iPad is "only" 1.5 pounds or 1.6 pounds, I wouldn't want to go jogging with it.

As for the netbook/laptop, I mainly use it for web browsing, Skype, and photos. Is the iPad even capable of running a web browser and Skype at the same time? When it comes to photos, plus music, and especially the videos that most people use their laptops for, the storage space is just too small. We're looking at expensive upgrades just for basic functionality. 16GB is not going to cut it when you're looking to replace your whole computer.

Jan 27, 2010, 6:15 pm

Also: I haven't yet explored this issue fully, but it appears that the app store for the iPod only works in a single country. With my netbook, I can get new programs both during the 8 months of the year that I'm in the US and during the 4 months of the year that I'm in Canada.

Jan 27, 2010, 6:24 pm

45> You can switch counties in iTunes?

Jan 27, 2010, 6:28 pm

That's good to know. I figured that if they had the restrictions, they wouldn't be pointlessly easy to get around.

Jan 27, 2010, 6:31 pm

I like the size of the device. It seems a lot more portable than even a 13" laptop. I am, however, missing what would be the real "killer" for me: Being able to write on the screen with some pen-like device (not just finger painting ;-). This would mean I could make my presentations much more interactive by drawing stuff on the fly; it would also make taking notes with drawings in them a lot easier. It doesn't even have to do handwriting recognition.

Mmm, thinking about this: Would be get to make doodles on while idling away during someone else's presentation ;-)

Jan 27, 2010, 6:38 pm

Looks interesting, but seems too big for a phone/music player, and too limited for a computer (even if you only do a small number of things, you probably want to do more than 1 at a time).

Sounds like the best fit is the E-Reader, and they seem to be treating it as an afterthought.

Jan 27, 2010, 6:42 pm

Reading another article about how the iPad will kill the netbook, I think I've realized what my fundamental difference with a lot of people is: "Sure, an iPad assumes you have a "real" computer to store your main data -- but the netbook is also predicated on the assumption that it's your "on the go" device".

No. A netbook is an actual computer, my only computer. There's all this talk about how the iPad is a great replacement for your "extra" computer, but I don't have an extra computer, and the iPad is not an acceptable replacement for my main computer. It's an expensive toy.

Jan 27, 2010, 6:53 pm

You can certainly buy content off of the AppStore in multiple countries. We've had people in about 20 countries download the Local Books app. The Canada store is usually the second-highest on our list, sorted by number of "purchasers," followed closely by Great Britain.

As for the comment about me expanding the list: yes, of course I did. I said that it COULD replace all of those devices, not that it would in every situation. It could certainly replace my iPod since the only times I use it are 1) while reading a book, and 2) while driving in the car. It can replace my laptop for everything I use it for (email, IM, web browsing, basic document editing) except when it becomes my main coding platform when traveling...for that I'd still need my laptop but that's not unexpected. I don't own a netbook but I just don't see how this couldn't replace one. It could certainly replace the Kindle. I think that takes care of my list. ;)

But again, I'm not trying to say it's some revolutionary device. It's not. Apple makes mistakes (the aforementioned Performa line counts as one of those) but they also tend to somehow create more change than any other company in existence. And it's not a given, but I think the iPad is going to change the landscape in a couple of categories. Then again, I'm no Nostradamus and we can never be sure. It'll be interesting to see it all play out.

On another note: I have about 4 applications that I've been waiting to write that would be perfect for this device. So I'm happy about that part. Now to just find the time....sigh.

Jan 27, 2010, 6:55 pm

50: Yes, the pad isn't meant as your main computer. It's a lifestyle device. Just as the iPod was never meant to replace your home sound system. The iPod was considered a way-too-expensive toy too. ;)

Jan 27, 2010, 6:55 pm

Traction. It's all about traction.

Jan 27, 2010, 6:59 pm

48: I think that you can buy a stylus that works with the iPhone/iPad touch capacitors. Google it.

The touch sensors are high res enough to handle it. They're pretty decent.

Jan 27, 2010, 7:13 pm

Re: iPad price vs. Kindle price. It looks like the iPad has the same screen size as the big Kindle (the DX) and is only $10 more.

The _exact_ same screen size and closeness in price seem like a direct shot at Amazon.

Jan 27, 2010, 7:15 pm

You can certainly buy content off of the AppStore in multiple countries. We've had people in about 20 countries download the Local Books app. The Canada store is usually the second-highest on our list, sorted by number of "purchasers," followed closely by Great Britain.

That's not what I meant. I'm not quite as much of an idiot as you may think. Your iTunes account has to be associated with a particular country. When I used a Canadian account to download apps in the US, the apps didn't work (error messages about being in the wrong country). I ended up switching to a different account, getting rid of the apps, and downloading them again. Fortunately they were free.

As koffieyahoo already said, there is a way to switch the country of the account (although, interestingly, this has to be done from a separate computer, not on the iPod itself). I've heard that you can only do this if you have both a residential and a billing address in the country in question--so if you're just visiting somewhere for a month, you're out of luck?

Again, I haven't thoroughly investigated the implications of this. But I assume the restrictions have some purpose, and are actually restrictive in some way. Also, the mere fact that Apple has so much control over what I can do is disturbing. On a computer, you don't have to have your every move monitored and approved. I can add whatever programs I want, whenever I want, and no one is going to shut me out because my personal profile doesn't meet certain standards.

As for the comment about me expanding the list: yes, of course I did. I said that it COULD replace all of those devices, not that it would in every situation.

The point of the expanding list comment was that you included items that were already redundant among themselves (netbook and laptop). You mean the iPad can replace my iPod and my Walkman and my turntable? In that case, I'll run right out and buy it....

The fact that it might not actually replace all the items on the list was a different issue.

Jan 27, 2010, 7:20 pm

Yes, the pad isn't meant as your main computer. It's a lifestyle device. Just as the iPod was never meant to replace your home sound system. The iPod was considered a way-too-expensive toy too. ;)

The iPod actually has significant advantages over other methods of storing music, though. The size reduction from a CD collection to an iPod is a lot more significant than the size reduction from a netbook to an iPad, and doesn't come with the corresponding loss of functionality--in fact, functionality is increased, because you can shuffle all your CDs together at once. The iPad is actually going backwards, limiting us to one thing at a time.

Jan 27, 2010, 7:24 pm

Yeah, kinda like that big collection of books that can now be stored on a device the size of a magazine. ;)

It's a cross-category device. That's the point.

Jan 27, 2010, 7:30 pm

>58 conceptDawg: No, you have to pay money to replace them all, except the classics. Music from CDs could be transferred directly onto the iPod.

Edited: Jan 27, 2010, 8:19 pm

>39 conceptDawg: "For some (though not all people) this single device can replace their Kindle, netbook, iPod, and laptop. That's pretty impressive from a system-design perspective"

Arguably, a netbook can replace a Kindle, iPod, and laptop, too, so I don't find that all-in-one property of the iPad to be terribly impressive. (ITunes runs on netbooks, ebooks can be read on netbooks, and, for all its deficiencies, a netbook is a whole lot more like a laptop then an iPad is.)

I, personally, don't need a replacement for my iPod; it's about 3% the size of the iPad, so what would be the point? I, personally, have no interest in reading books on a backlit LCD screen, so an iPad wouldn't be an acceptable alternative to paper books or to a Kindle for me. I can run Microsoft Office on a netbook or laptop; will this modified version of iWorks on a virtual keyboard make me forget all about Office? When former PalmOS users have expressed dissatisfaction with the iPod Touch's performance as a Personal Data Assistant, Apple fans consistently criticize them for trying to use the Touch to do that which it was not intended to do; is the iPad now intended to do things like that? Or is it mainly intended to be a 1.5 pound video game controller? (I predict a substantial improvement in the muscle tone of the forearms of gamers!)

Jan 27, 2010, 8:25 pm

Will someone please explain why they called it an "iPad"? I take it that there were no women on the team that came up with that goofy name.

Jan 27, 2010, 9:38 pm

I don't think they let women in the clubhouse at Apple.

Jan 27, 2010, 9:50 pm

There's already a t-shirt! Is it too late to call it something else?

Jan 27, 2010, 9:55 pm

#61, The first thing I said to my roommates was that iPad was either the way some of my American relatives might say iPod, or a high-tech tampon...

Jan 27, 2010, 10:15 pm

Yeah, the name is highly unfortunate. iTablet, iSlate, iPod Tablet, etc.

Pretty near anything else...

Jan 28, 2010, 12:24 am

iTab woulda worked even if it didn't have a P.

Interesting battles ahead with iTunes 125 million account holders and Amazon's 150 million. Wonder what Random House is holding out for?

Graphic novels should look good on the iPad.

Jan 28, 2010, 12:41 am

>66 VisibleGhost:. VisibleGhost

Agreed on the graphic novels. I used to read a lot more of them, but I now have boxes of comics taking up closet space, and I just don't want to add to them. Comics were definitely a factor when I decided not to get a Kindle, and, rather, to wait and see what Apple came up with. I'd still like to see some dedicated comic and magazine solutions up and running. I'm surprised Steve didn't have anything to demo because the form factor and the color screen seems like it would naturally lend itself to that.

As for Kindle vs. iTunes, it may not be a factor, depending on how it's played by Amazon and Apple. I can read Kindle books on my iPod now. If that carries over the iPad, then it will hardly matter. I can choose my books based on price, availability, and format. Apple will no doubt win on shopping experience on the iPad. It's already a bit of a pain to buy Kindle books on my iPod, requires jumping between applications. I don't know how Apple will implement its e-books. Does the epub format imply that the books will be readable on other devices? If so, that's a no-brainer. I'd pay a couple of extra bucks for a more open format. If not, Amazon may have an edge with pricing at the moment and with the fact that books can be read on multiple devices. But as long as Apple lets the Kindle application work on the iPad, I think that battle may play out for a while yet.

Jan 28, 2010, 4:23 am

10 hours of battery?! You're kidding?

An E-Ink reader (of which there are 20 or so, not just the Kindle, it's not even as if that was the first), gets somewhere between 1-2 weeks of life. Reading everyday.

The only only way this is going to be competition for an ereader is if it can handle both kindle proprietary format, AND the Epub format. And I'll be shocked if that is the case.

Whatever else it might be useful for, including occasional casual reading, it's not a replacement for a dedicated ereader.

Jan 28, 2010, 5:44 am

54> Yup, but since Apple hasn't designed any of it's standard applications to work with it, they're practically useless I would say (except to type in cold weather with your gloves on).

68> It does ePub. Not kindle for obvious reasons I would say.

Jan 28, 2010, 6:36 am

If I were to get one, and that's not impossible, it would be my favorite travel gadget. I don't like lugging around a laptop when I travel and I refuse to read on a smartphone. An iPad would be for long hours on the bus or the train and for trips abroad. For a combo of a little mail handling, some web surfing, a bit of music listening, watching a movie or two, having spare books on in case I finish the one I'm bringing with me... a nice tool-of-all-trades.

Edited: Jan 28, 2010, 8:26 am

>68 reading_fox: There is a Kindle app for the iPhone/IPod tocuh. The iPad is supposed to be able to run most existing apps out of the box so there is possibility that you could have some Kindle functionality on the iPad.

My reservation is how/if it can handle PDFs as that is the format most of my digital library is in and it's why I have not bought an ereader device just yet. In the video, you can see an email with a PDF attachment; it looked like you could tap the icon and open the file right up. But having to email myself a book every time I wanted to read a new one would get annoying.

Jan 28, 2010, 8:39 am

From my perspective, the best thing about this is that it should force Amazon to abandon its proprietary ebook format.


I also think it will force them to abandon their pricing strategy. While $9.99 looks good for consumers, it's also why ebooks are being held back until the hardcover sells, and ultimately I'd rather pricing power be held by the publishers than a single retail outlet. But then I was expecting, if the Kindle wins, Amazon would run into some serious legal monopoly problems soon enough.

I said earlier that my netbook has already replaced my laptop, and I don't think I'm alone in this.

How does it do this for you? Is the point that the netbook is smaller and lighter. I don't get that, but then my laptop is the 17" one, and I feel cramped on anything smaller. I prefer screen real-estate to weight.

Follow-up question: You're all book people. I regularly carry two or three in my bag. Don't you? Doesn't that render weight issues moot?

It doesn't even have to do handwriting recognition.

Yes, good point. I'd love it if it did old Palm Grafiti. Was the Devil at that!

You can certainly buy content off of the AppStore in multiple countries.

Isn't there some way to restrict it? I'm sure Stanza is partially restricted.

The iPad is actually going backwards, limiting us to one thing at a time.

Do you mean that you can't play music while you work? I suspect, if it's fundamentally an iTouch grown big, that you can. I do that all the time--listen to music and surf the web on my iPhone.

Wonder what Random House is holding out for?

I bet they're just trying to get the best deal possible. They are much larger than the other publishers named, and, without them, no ebook device can stand a long-term chance.

Speaking of publishers, did anyone notice that the highlighted book was Kennedy's True Compass? I found this weird discordant because:

1. I can't imagine Jobs, who has publically scorned reading and never been into politics, reading it.
2. It's been out a while.
3. It wasn't that big of a success, I don't think.
4. It's got an old guy on the cover.
5. It's about events that took place when computers were the size of rooms.
6. Ted Kennedy's seat just went to a Republican!

Stone me now, people.

An E-Ink reader (of which there are 20 or so, not just the Kindle, it's not even as if that was the first), gets somewhere between 1-2 weeks of life. Reading everyday.

That I just don't believe. I read on a plane from LA to New Zealand and it ate up most of the battery life.

Edited: Jan 28, 2010, 8:46 am

Stone me now, people.

You mean iStone, right?

Jan 28, 2010, 8:46 am

"You're all book people. I regularly carry two or three in my bag. Don't you? "

No. I carry one Ereader, and for people for whom weight is an issue, like my OtherHalf, carry a plastic one like the Cool-ER that weighs 2 oz not 2 lb. The Kindle's too big, the Ipad is worse. My ereader is paperback sized.

"That I just don't believe. I read on a plane from LA to New Zealand and it ate up most of the battery life."

Mine just does last 1week+ and is used for several hours a day. I don't turn it off. Did you leave your wireless on? even the Kindle should last days rather than hours.

Jan 28, 2010, 9:49 am

Ok, I want one.

It's the all-in-one that matters, I think. I had an iPod mini (once upon a time) that I never used, because I never remembered to bring it with me. I always remember my phone though—which is an iPhone—so I always have music now, without having to plan ahead (and email, and internet, and everything else)...

I never wanted a Kindle, but I read ebooks from time to time on my iPhone (for one thing, it's much lighter and easier to hold with one hand while nursing in the dark).

Also, it will fit in my purse. My 17" laptop, which I love dearly, requires a special huge bag.

Jan 28, 2010, 9:51 am

The quote was that it would last 10 hours playing videos. Just reading should use much less power, I think.

Jan 28, 2010, 10:21 am

>68 reading_fox:. reading_fox

10 hours is plenty for a lot of people. I am in awe of the Kindle's battery life, but I have to say that I just don't see it as an issue. For one thing, if that's 10 hours of video then it's probably more if you're just reading. And for the legions of people Apple has sold iPods to, we've been trained to plug in at night. Every night. My iPod Touch gets more then 10 hours of use a lot of days but it's not video (only lasts for a few hours playing video, I think), and it's often used when I'm at my desk, so I just plug in. Basically for me and many people like me who charge their devices daily, you only need enough charge for one day's worth of use. 10 hours will suit me just fine.

People who have already spent a lot in Kindle books may feel locked in to the Kindle and reluctant to try the iPad if it blocks the Kindle ap(or if Kindle decides not to offer it on the iPad), but I expect people buying their first eReader will give the iPad serious consideration. We don't have real-world testing of reading on the iPad yet, but extrapolating from my experiences with the iPod and the Kindle, I expect reading on the iPad will be about as pleasant as on the Kindle and considerably more pleasant for any material that relies on images and/or color. Also given all that the iPad does that is completely unrelated from its eReader features, I expect it will sell to plenty of people who aren't even in the market for an eReader. I doubt the Kindle format is going to make or break the iPad. In fact, I suspect that publishers are going to do whatever they have to to make sure their books are available on the iPad.

It may not replace a dedicated eReader for people who are in love with their current device, but for anyone who hasn't taken the eReader plunge yet, I'll be surprised if the iPad isn't a major contender. I've been wanting an eReader for years, but I was never quite satisfied with the offerings. But I anticipate buying an iPad and making it my dedicated eReader. I'll be very surprised if I'm the only one.

Jan 28, 2010, 10:25 am

>75 ablachly: "It's the all-in-one that matters, I think. I had an iPod mini (once upon a time) that I never used, because I never remembered to bring it with me. I always remember my phone though—which is an iPhone—so I always have music now, without having to plan ahead (and email, and internet, and everything else)..."

But the iPad doesn't make phone calls, so it won't replace your iPhone, so you'll still be bringing the iPhone with you everywhere, so the ability of the iPad to play music (and do "email, and internet, and everything else"?) will be redundant, won't it?

"I never wanted a Kindle, but I read ebooks from time to time on my iPhone (for one thing, it's much lighter and easier to hold with one hand while nursing in the dark)."

The iPad, on the other hand, is not "much lighter and easier to hold in one hand".

"Also, it will fit in my purse."

A typical netbook is about 0.5 inches longer and 0.5 inches wider than an iPad. An iPad is about half as thick, but it's bound to be fattened somewhat by enclosing it in the iPod Case.

Jan 28, 2010, 10:28 am

I have been in the market for a new laptop for a couple of months. I am teetering on the fence between a netbook and a smaller laptop. I am almost ashamed to admit (in here) that I like the idea of the iPad. My issue is that I will need to be able to type quickly and accurately, and I have my doubts about a touchscreen keyboard. Anyone ever use one regularly and successfully?

Jan 28, 2010, 10:30 am

>77 Rob_E: "for anyone who hasn't taken the eReader plunge yet, I'll be surprised if the iPad isn't a major contender."

I haven't taken the eReader plunge yet, and the iPad is not a major contender for me.

Jan 28, 2010, 10:32 am

>78 cpg:
I suppose I see it more as a reason *not* to buy a netbook as a purse-sized work-in-coffee shop laptop. Also, I can't lie, I'm a sucker for shiny Apple products.

Jan 28, 2010, 10:34 am

But the iPad doesn't make phone calls, so it won't replace your iPhone

It's got a built in microphone. Add the Skype app to than and you can make awkward phone calls on a huge mobile device.

Jan 28, 2010, 10:38 am

> 77

for anyone who hasn't taken the eReader plunge yet, I'll be surprised if the iPad isn't a major contender.

I can't imagine why. I haven't taken the eReader plunge. I've said that I'd consider something like the Kindle if the price dropped, so why would I seriously consider something that starts at twice the cost?

It may be a contender for people who are thinking about an eReader and also care about the iPad's additional features, but for someone who just wants to read books, no way.

Jan 28, 2010, 10:50 am


I'll admit I'm probably not in their target market. I don't own and have no desire for a mp3 player, fancy phone, or laptop.

The LCD screen is going to drain a heap of power just by being on. Yes video will drain more than just reading, but you'll never get days-weeks out of it. Battery life is a key bonus on ereaders. As is the non-glare screen. Granted colour annotations will make textbook reading much better than current ereaders.

I'm sure the Ipad will be very useful for lots of people. But I can't see myself ever using it.

Jan 28, 2010, 10:51 am

> 72 I also think it will force them to abandon their pricing strategy. While $9.99 looks good for consumers, it's also why ebooks are being held back until the hardcover sells, and ultimately I'd rather pricing power be held by the publishers than a single retail outlet.

I don't want pricing power held by anyone other than the consumer.

You think $9.99 is a good price ? Its a rip-off. They do nothing to it, and have no distribution costs. I generally won't buy anything priced above $4.99.

Jan 28, 2010, 11:21 am

> 80 > 83

Perhaps you're right. If you care only about text, then there are cheaper options out there that are just as capable. But I'm coming at this from having used an iPod Touch for a while now. I didn't buy it to be an eReader, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it served so well in that capacity considering its size. The iPod gives me access to so much, but on such a small screen. Nowhere is this more annoying than when I'm reading a book. So when I look at this device, I'm seeing something that can all the things that I love about my iPod Touch and be a great eReader. I was originally taken with the "e-ink" technology, but after using the iPod and the Kindle, I find that I would readily trade e-ink for backlighting. And when considering e-readers, I realized how much content would be opened up with the addition of color.

I'll grant that there will be people who care nothing for these features, so there will likely continue to be a market for these other eReaders. But I still expect the iPad will become a big player in the eReader market. Of course we haven't seen it used that way except in the demo, so I may still be proven wrong, but after using Kindle and Stanza on my iPod, it seems unlikely that Apple couldn't make something at least as serviceable. And the price is a little misleading, too, because while it is twice as much as a Kindle, the screen is more comparable to the Kindle DX, as is the price. Again, not everyone wants/needs the bigger screen, but I know for me, and I expect for a lot of people, the features of the iPad are more than attractive enough to justify the price above what the Kindle costs.

Edited: Jan 28, 2010, 12:04 pm

>85 FicusFan:

Lots of people think distribution and manufacture are a big part of book prices. They're actually tiny. The bookstore takes the largest cut, with the rest divided between the publisher and author, in varying ways depending on the contract, where it is in the sale, etc. Ultimately, I don't think that there's too much money here—it's not too easy to make money off publishing and writing books. So, anything that drives down prices across publishing will (1) kill bookstores, (2) hurt publishers, (3) reduce the quality and diversity of books available. I'm against 1 and 3 on principle, and 2 for its result.

Unfortunately, pricing conversations are, I fear, epiphenomenal to the main issue—$0. I don't think the iBooks store will be any more successful in stopping piracy than the iTunes store is. The music industry is half the size it was ten years ago. I suspect the same will soon happen to publishing. Some marginal opportunities will be opened, as with music, but market size matters too. And authors have no realistic way to make money outside of their work--touring and merchandise will never be a a major factor.

Jan 28, 2010, 1:15 pm

> 87, Don't believe Bookstores have a 'cut' of the Ebook, because they aren't in the store (part of that no distribution cost thingy). The prices are money divided between the publisher and the author.

I have no problem supporting authors, but I suspect unless we are talking about a big star, most of the money goes to the publishers.

Have no interest in supporting publishers until the have a business model that isn't based on screwing authors and ripping off customers.

The industry may change but there will still be books to read.

Jan 28, 2010, 1:26 pm

the pad isn't meant as your main computer

There's why I won't get one right there. Currently, my main system is a slate computer not much bigger than the iPad (12.1" screen), which can also run Office, Photoshop, and any other application I might care to run. Why would I want to downgrade to a limited device?

I am hoping that this will 1) force prices of other slates down somewhat as they compete with the iPad, and 2) force web designers to make their sites flexible to not sidescroll at smaller resolutions. Even LT gives me a bit of a horizontal scrollbar, though it's pretty flexible (seems to be just the header causing it). If enough people buy this thing (and use it as I do, in portrait orientation), they will have to make sites look decent at 768x1024 again. Hallelujah.

Jan 28, 2010, 2:01 pm

The iPad is actually going backwards, limiting us to one thing at a time.

Do you mean that you can't play music while you work?

I'm more interested in Skype than in music. I haven't seen anything to indicate that it will be possible to run Skype at the same time as another application, not to mention that the thing doesn't even have a camera.

Is the point that the netbook is smaller and lighter. I don't get that, but then my laptop is the 17" one, and I feel cramped on anything smaller. I prefer screen real-estate to weight.

Yeah, portability is key for me--size more than weight. I like to be able to fit my computer along with a couple of textbooks in a small backpack, since I'm carrying it back and forth to school every day. I admit there are times when I'd like more screen space, but if it comes down to it I'd rather get a separate monitor to use at home than a whole other computer.

Follow-up question: You're all book people. I regularly carry two or three in my bag. Don't you? Doesn't that render weight issues moot?

It depends where I'm going. If I'm just running errands, I'm only going to bring one book in my purse. I usually only carry multiple books when I'm going from one specific destination to another (home, school, another town). And it's precisely when I'm already burdened down with lots of books that I don't want to lug around a big heavy computer as well.

Jan 28, 2010, 2:05 pm

I have a book in my car, just in case I am stuck somewhere and have nothing to read. Its been there for years and may never be finished.

I have a book in my everyday bag that I take back and forth with me.

I have several unread ebooks on my Touch (Kindle) that I can read.

Jan 28, 2010, 2:12 pm

A lot of mention of books here but what about other print media such as newspapers and magazines. Does iPad throw them a lifeline or drive another nail in their coffins? I read most of my news and such on a laptop. I don't do paper newspapers anymore and am slowly giving up paper magazines. I don't like those formats on the Kindle so I'm interested in trying them on an iPad. A pictorial publication like National Geographic goes deeper in digital forms already. There's only so much they can afford to put between the covers of a physical magazine.

Jan 28, 2010, 2:28 pm

Regarding carrying books - for short trips I always have my Palm with me and I have twenty five or so books on that for reading-in-lines and reading in waiting rooms.

For longer trips - I love the Kindle, it's comfortable to read for hours in a hotel room, though I read on it at home a lot as well.

Jan 28, 2010, 2:30 pm

>92 VisibleGhost:. VisibleGhost

That's something I'm going to be watching closely, too. I guess whether it helps or hurts newspapers and magazines will depend on how widespread the adoption of the device is what, if anything, publishers do to take advantage of it. I'm sure you can do amazing things with a digital magazine (somewhere on YouTube is a mock up of what a digital Sports Illustrated issue might look like that is very impressive), but if only a tiny fraction of your audience is likely to own a device they'll read your digital magazine on, then it might not be that helpful to put a lot of resources in that direction. But even with a straight, page-by-page, digital conversion of a magazine there is potential. Seems like it would still look great and you could buy your magazines when you want to read them.

It was the idea that magazines and comics could really be viable on a device like this that prevented me from buying a Kindle, so I do hope publishers find a way to take advantage of the platform.

Jan 28, 2010, 2:36 pm

>94 Rob_E: - That's a good point. I read a number of magazines on Zinio on my laptop. I really like the quality of the Zinio presentation. The iPad could be perfect for that sort of reading, and much more comfortable than reading on a laptop.

Jan 28, 2010, 2:43 pm

72>That I just don't believe. I read on a plane from LA to New Zealand and it ate up most of the battery life.

You must have had the wireless on. Last year I took my K2 on a 2 week cruise, used it every day and the charge lasted for the whole 2 weeks.

Jan 28, 2010, 2:57 pm

Rob_E, one more test I'd like to see but might not wait for. Give an iPad to a junior-high kid for six months and then see what it looks like and if it still functions. Or see what Tim's looks like after that time period. I think he broke his Kindle in less than a week.

Edited: Jan 28, 2010, 4:40 pm

By the way, anybody remember the Newspad from 2001: A Space Odyssey? Once again, Clark was way ahead of his time...

Jan 28, 2010, 5:29 pm

My Cybook typically shows 70% charge after a week's reading running to around 8 hours. That's on a machine bought second-hand, so the battery wasn't in prime condition to start with. Of course, the Cybook doesn't have any wireless functions, so there isn't a heavy battery drain in the background.

And I really don't want to have to start plugging something in every night (which is one of the reasons why I'm still perfectly happy with my Palm IIIxe, and will cry when it dies).

As an epublished author, I'm very interested in the release of the iPad. I can see why some of my friends will rush out and buy one, and for more reasons than "Shiny!" But not really feeling the love myself, and a lot of it's to do with being a Luddite who prefers machines that don't have to be fed every night (and really, really preferring eInk to backlight on the eyestrain front, even if I do find the refresh rate annoying).

Jan 28, 2010, 8:15 pm

"Authors have no realistic way to make money outside of their work--touring and merchandise will never be a a major factor."

Cult-type authors will have opportunities to sell fewer books for more money -- limited edition versions, autographed copies, selling books in progress chapter-by-chapter and things like that. If there's a free version of something available, sometimes it opens up a market for a deluxe version for your die-hard fans. So the literary equivalents of Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead will do well. Everybody else? Yeah, they might be screwed.

Jan 28, 2010, 9:08 pm

For a view from a full-time sf writer and ex-computer journalist, Charlie Stross discusses how he might be able to make a living from writing in the future:

and then waxes geekish about the iPad:

Edited: Jan 28, 2010, 9:33 pm

>92 VisibleGhost: and 94

The New York Times announced last week that they will start charging money for access to much of their on-line content starting in 2011. They seem to be following Rupert Murdoch's lead; he has long complained that Internet users should be paying to read his newspapers on-line.

Edited: Jan 28, 2010, 10:32 pm

For me, personally, the iPad makes no sense on multiple levels. But why has already been covered pretty thoroughly in this thread and in other articles. So instead I just want to make an observation.

conceptDawg remarked on how at other launches, people said the following as reasons why the product wouldn't be successful and were proven wrong:
The iPod: "It's just an expensive MP3 player."
The iPhone: "It's just another phone with a fancy interface."

While that's true, there's another factor here. With the iPad, you can't say "it's just an expensive/fancy ????" because there really is no category it's replacing for most users. It's simply not going to be an iPod/iPhone replacement, since it's not a phone and it's not portable like they are. And it's not a netbook replacement because it has a subset of the features of a netbook. Ditto for the laptop. It's not an e-reader replacement because of the battery life, lack of e-ink (though yes, some people might see that as a plus), and size and weight (really, it's quite heavy for an e-reader), shiny glass front, fingerprints, poor user interface that's not geared towards books, etc.

Despite Jobs' poor choice to center his pitch around how netbooks suck and the iPad rules, what they're trying to do is create a whole new category. As such, I don't think the iPod/iPhone examples are a very apt comparison. There were pre-existing markets where the existing devices were selling well, showing a real demand for a device that fulfilled the need.

The closest we've come to this is the tablet PCs. Yes, they weighed more. I had a very lightweight one and it was over 4 pounds. But really, the weight was never a factor in me not liking it. The screen flipped around and laid flat to use as a tablet, but you could also flip it back and use it like a laptop. After the novelty wore off, I found that I preferred using it as a laptop 100% of the time, even for simple web browsing.

So that's why I think the outcome is far from predictable. If anyone could pull this off, I think Apple has a good shot. Much better than a Microsoft, Sony, etc. attempt. But since it doesn't follow their pre-existing gameplan of making a shiny Apple version of an already existing popular device, they could be in for a major failure.

The real question is: is there a category of device that a lot of people really needed but just never knew they did, and is it worth $500+ for them to fill that need?

Jan 29, 2010, 12:37 am

The real question is: is there a category of device that a lot of people really needed but just never knew they did, and is it worth $500+ for them to fill that need?

Yes. Cheap laptops. Tablets for the (poor) masses.

Jan 29, 2010, 12:42 am

>104 infiniteletters: Except that it's neither a laptop nor cheap. Not to mention that actual cheap laptops already exist.

Edited: Jan 29, 2010, 12:56 am

104, 105> Zoe is spot-on. I just helped my relatives who don't have a lot of money to splash around and aren't that computer savvy pick a sub $500 laptop that pretty much blows the doors off of the iPad in terms of what they'll actually be able to do with it. They aren't computer geeks or techno-nerds or any of that business, just plain everyday folks who need a computer to surf the web, edit some documents, and manage their checkbook.

ETA: Oh, and by "surf the web", I mean all of the web. It would be a complete non-starter for me to recommend the iPad, but then have to explain that they won't be able to watch Hulu on it (one of their favorites). Or that they can't play all those fun Flash games they love. Strangely enough, when they use the internet, they want a computer that Just Works(TM).

Jan 29, 2010, 1:12 am

...they want a computer that Just Works(TM).

So you got them a Linux box then?

Edited: Jan 29, 2010, 8:42 am

> 102

The New York Times announced last week that they will start charging money for access to much of their on-line content starting in 2011.

That's not quite accurate. That was the Times Select model that blew up in their face.

What they are proposing is to charge based on the amount of content you access, not what you access. Most visitors to the site won't be affected:

Also, if you are a subscriber to the print edition, even just the Sunday edition, there will be no additional charge for online access.

Actually, this might get me to subscribe to the Sunday edition, rather than run down to the corner to get it.

Jan 29, 2010, 10:26 am

107> Hey man, don't think I haven't given serious thought to it in the past. I might have to revisit it now. I hear Flash support in Linux isn't quite as horrid as it used to be.

Jan 29, 2010, 11:28 am

I think the NYT may have threaded the needle. They'll stay in Google. People will still link to them. And they'll make some money off it.

Jan 29, 2010, 12:15 pm


I think that the "most visitors to the site won't be affected" is entirely dependent on when the charges kick in. One article a day? Ten a day? One a month? (I don't really count someone who follows a link once a month as a "visitor" although I'm sure they do.)

I'm a bit leery of the model given how closemouthed they've been about the level of the charges and the amount of content that you can read for free.

Actually, this might get me to subscribe to the Sunday edition, rather than run down to the corner to get it.

That's an interesting idea. They always have sales on subscriptions, after all, which I doubt they'd have for the online content.

Edited: Jan 29, 2010, 12:56 pm

>107 justjim:.

The only problem is that most people think that a *-nix box is "Just (a lot of) Works."

I can has more *-nix mobile devices, plz? So I can, you know, use them without having to pay the piper every step of the way?

Also: iPad articles:


The PC-era will end when (a) they pry my monolith-case from my cold, dead hands, and (b) they make a portable device that's "easy" (possible w/o solder and proprietary screwdriver heads) to modify, like real computers are.

Jan 29, 2010, 2:06 pm

"it's just an expensive/fancy ????"
*cough* Newton *cough*

I've been thinking a lot about this, and mostly I've come to realize I just want to watch and see what happens with the iPad. Unlike the iPhone or Kindle, I'm not eager to jump on the Early Adopter Bandwagon. Plus, there's so much information they haven't given us yet, like how many non-video hours it'll run, or if they'll have blocked the HTML5 version of GoogleTalk.

For now, I'm happy to awkwardly half-use my netbook and Kindle. I agree with Tim that you get spoiled with a 17" monitor, and my brain kind of can't think when looking at the netbook screen. Much like getting used to the Kindle page turn, I think I need to log some hours with the netbook to get over that.

Jan 29, 2010, 3:10 pm

113> I believe the Newton had handwriting recognition.


Jan 29, 2010, 3:38 pm

Maybe it's older eyes—although actually, like many book people, my eyes have been crap for decades—but I can't get behind small screens.

Jan 29, 2010, 3:55 pm

>115 timspalding: Isn't that almost the opposite of the problem you had before, with not enough screen space?

I chose to get 1024x600 resolution on my netbook, although I could have had higher, because I figured that would be plenty small enough on a ten-inch screen. So while I did limit the amount I could fit on the screen, I have no problem seeing it.

Edited: Jan 30, 2010, 7:21 pm

I'm just sayin'

(Yeah, yeah, I know, neither LT or Apple were the first to come up with the idea of the fake digital bookshelf with covers showing)

Jan 30, 2010, 7:27 pm

When I click on the Mashable link in 117 the page starts to load, I start to read it, it finishes loading, and it turns into a blank gray screen.


Feb 1, 2010, 12:47 pm

It looks like the "Would you want one?" sentiment is running 2-1 or 3-1 in against the iPad here, but I'm not sure how much that tells us about the wider market. The real market for these beasts--if one exists--isn't us (or anyone else who thinks about screen size v. weight, or keyboard feel, or battery life, or the ability to port apps between different countries). The real market is people whose use of portable electronics is way more limited and undemanding . . . and I suspect that market is bigger than those of us here suspect.

The question we should be asking isn't would *you* buy one, but . . . "Would your aunt buy one?" :-)

Also: Anybody want to bet that Apple is feeling out textbook publishers? There was a time when Apple ruled the educational market . . . and I wouldn't bet against Jobs if he decided he wanted to recapture a (different) chunk of it.

Feb 1, 2010, 1:39 pm

119: My parents are looking at one.

Feb 1, 2010, 2:26 pm

119> Oh, I can definitely see the potential for a market. But to me, it doesn't make sense unless you get rid of the main computer.

Think about it. You're talking about a market of people who only need to surf and look at some photos from their digital camera, do email, listen to some tunes and play with all those cool apps (namely, GAMES). The iPad does that - mostly. Unless they've changed something (and there's no indication they have), the iPad is built around the assumption that you will use it in tandem with a main computer which runes iTunes.

Yes, you can buy apps and songs with the iPhone/touch today directly from the device. But really you're just buying them for your main computer's iTunes account and getting a copy downloaded to your device. If your device gets wiped, you're going to have to reload it from the main computer. And if it's anything like the iPhone/touch (and all indications are that it is), you'll need a main computer to even activate it.

Ever try to delete a song from your iPhone directly? Ever try to rename the track?

Correct me if any of my theorizing is off-base, since I sadly lost my iPod touch last summer and so have been out of the loop since then. But it was very much dependent on my main computer.

As such, I just think they've shot themselves in the foot for the potential market that might make sense - a house with the iPad as the only computer. Otherwise, you're going to pay $500 for an iPad and at least $500 for a computer that manages the iPad. And lets not get into having to teach that person how to use the main computer who might otherwise have a low learning curve with the iPad.

It's going to be enough fun getting these people's wireless networks to talk to their iPad. ;)

Feb 1, 2010, 3:44 pm

>121 brightcopy:. brightcopy

You make a good point. The simplicity of use of the iPod Touch/iPhone and, by extrapolation, the iPad would make it a decent alternative to someone who doesn't want to mess with a full-fledged operating system, but I suspect you are right: the iPad, like the iPhone and Touch, will need to be tied to an existing computer system, and clearly that's by design. I'm not sure it's a bad design, either, but I do see the appeal of not having it tied to another computer.

If your device gets wiped, you're going to have to reload it from the main computer.
This is true, but not really a bad thing. Being tied to a computer might be an inconvenience, but if the device were to be wiped, and it was not tied to a computer, what then? There's no method to restore it because without another computer, there's no back up at all. Once you start designing ways to back this thing up without a computer, then you have to support external disks and the like, and then you're right on way to having a full-fledged operating system and all of the complexity that goes with it.

It's going to be enough fun getting these people's wireless networks to talk to their iPad. ;)
Indeed, but then I don't know anyone who has a wifi network who does not already have a computer. Not that it's impossible, or that there would be no other applications for such a set up. I have two wifi devices in my house that do not require a computer to be useful, but at least one of them required a computer for its initial set up. Not to mention the fact that my wifi router required a computer for initial set up.

So, yes, this isn't a replacement for a computer and, unlike the Kindle (does the Kindle require computer activation?) it wouldn't be useful in a house that had no computer, so that may be a missed market for Apple, but I don't know how many houses don't have a computer right now (and of that number, how many are in the market for the latest Apple gadget?). And I don't know how many people get by with just their netbook as their main computer. I know people do, but I would guess that it's not the majority of netbook users.

It will be interesting to see if this product finds its niche. I do agree that its clear that its niche will not be as someone's sole computing device, at least not as Apple presented it. So even though Apple did suggest it as an alternative to a netbook, it will probably not tempt netbook owners who don't have other computers. Apple does not really seem to want to replace any particular item. They want you to need this in addition to the rest of your electronics arsenal, and that may hurt its mainstream adoption. We'll see. For my part, I've been wanting an e-book reader for a while, but felt like existing products were too limited and too text-focused, so I am hoping that the iPad will "replace" the e-book reader I never bought. But it's a little to early to know that, too. I look forward to hearing more about the iBooks application as it becomes available, and what I really want to see is a way to deal with more image-heavy publications. Hopefully we'll see something along those lines before too long because I see that as the iPad's biggest edge in the eReader market.

The inability of the iPad to be a stand-alone computer doesn't really hurt it in my eyes because that's not what I was looking for. As a result, if this was a stand-alone product, it would probably have lots of features I did not have a use for. A stand-alone computer that's more light-weight and cheaper than Apple's current Macbook line is something that does have appeal to some folks (and some of them have hacked their netbooks to run the Mac OS), but it doesn't seem like that's the market Apple is going after.

Edited: Feb 1, 2010, 4:36 pm

122> There's no method to restore it because without another computer, there's no back up at all. Once you start designing ways to back this thing up without a computer, then you have to support external disks and the like, and then you're right on way to having a full-fledged operating system and all of the complexity that goes with it.

There's a couple of points here. First off, if the iPad could see a SD card or USB thumb drive, problem solved. You don't need anything fancy beyond that. iTunes already knows how to back itself up. It's really a no-brainer from a programming standpoint to go from there to letting it back up on an SD card or thumb drive. But the apparent lack of either of those two storage options is yet another showstopper (how are these people going to load their pictures off their digital cameras onto their iPad?) that Apple should really have fixed.

A second point is that iTunes should really let you easily re-download your purchased stuff on demand. Right now, the word is that you can do it if you call up Apple support and ask permission. Yes, this would be an additional cost for Apple to support the bandwidth for people re-downloading. But I think it's an infrequent enough event that it would be doable. They could even charge a small restoration fee (like $20) that would offset the potential extra bandwidth when the feature is used.

I'm just frustrated that Apple missed out on actually making good on Job's PR talking points - that of having the goal of making computing an everyday easy to do thing rather than the province of the "computer literate." I'm sure this was intentional, as they don't want to cannibalize their Mac sales. But if this iPad could be the only computer in a household, I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to lots of people (e.g. Mom) even though I wouldn't want to be stuck with some of the other restrictions myself.

As it is, I keep hearing the mantra "you just don't get it - this device isn't targeted towards people like you." But with every restriction considered and total cost of ownership evaluated, the group who it is theoretically for just keeps getting smaller and smaller.

ETA: is a good example of the "don't worry, if your computer gets wiped out just download it again using your account. We know you've already paid for it so why shouldn't you be able to?"

ETAA: Oh, and on the "I don't know many houses that don't have a computer" point - that is very true. However, many have computers that are still running Windows 98 (some even 95!) and are in need of updating. These are not particularly computers you'd want to tie around the iPad as an albatross around its neck.

Feb 1, 2010, 5:14 pm

I agree about iTunes letting you redownload music. There's a theory/rumour/speculation that Apple's acquiring of Lala was for the purpose of setting up an iTunes library in the cloud (Lala takes your music and makes it available to you from their website). If Apple does that, then it seems like the re-downloading music issue might be addressed, but really I don't see why it shouldn't be addressed now. If I buy an album on my iPod, why wouldn't the iTunes installation that's tied to that account have access to that new purchase? Doesn't make sense.

And it's true that some people have old computers. My own desktop is getting long in the tooth, not capable of taking the latest OS upgrades, etc. But it still runs the latest version of iTunes, and really that's all you need. Some day I may have iTunes issues as well, but for now it's working fine. If you don't think of an iPad as a stand-alone device, then it's pretty much standard practice that it's not going to be backward-compatible with 10 year old machines. If it was a stand-alone device, then of course it wouldn't matter how old your machine was. But then for my part, I find it handy having a desktop that connects to and syncs my other devices. I can see the appeal of a stand-alone product to some people, but I see the iPad as more attractive because it connects to and syncs with the same computer that my other devices sync with.

But the apparent lack of either of those two storage options is yet another showstopper (how are these people going to load their pictures off their digital cameras onto their iPad?) that Apple should really have fixed.
Actually there is a solution for this as far as images are concerned. I don't think we know yet if has any applications as far as getting other files on to and off of your iPad, but, like they've done with older iPod models, Apple is supposedly selling a connection device to allow you to empty your digital camera into the iPad.

Feb 1, 2010, 5:25 pm

I can't see why Apple did it unless it was to do that, or at least be in a position to do it.

Feb 1, 2010, 5:27 pm

124> Right, should have mentioned the camera connector, though again that's going to be extra $$$. But if you have shelled out for such a thing, it kind of erases your point about it backing up opening the door to needing a full fledged operating system.

Feb 1, 2010, 5:29 pm

125> Dammit man, pronouns are a privilege, not a right!

In other words, what the hell are you saying? ;)

Feb 1, 2010, 5:46 pm

>126 brightcopy:. brightcopy

Well, I'm no programmer, but would be surprised if a full back up was sufficiently equal to file transfer to say that if you can transfer files, then backing up the whole OS should be just as simple. But really if you're going to imagine the iPad as a full-fledged, simplified computer, then you probably need to forget about SD cards and thumb drives as backup solutions. If you're trying to make a simplified media device that replaces more complicated devices, then it would make sense to have it back up to the web. I know plenty of people with standard computers who don't keep decent back ups, so if you're looking something to be a computer for the computer illiterate, you'll want something even simpler than standard back up solutions, which would not be a stack of SD cards.

But really we're talking in circles. You're looking for ways that it could be a stand alone computer if that is what Apple had wanted to make. I'm saying even if it was a simple thing to do (and I'm not convinced that it is), it wouldn't be the device I would want. I'm not ready to give up my desktop, and any device that works completely independently of my desktop requires extra work to keep the information synchronized.

Feb 1, 2010, 5:48 pm

It probably can sync to a Time Capsule or something. Do those have BlueTooth? I never looked.

Feb 1, 2010, 5:56 pm

128> I'm not talking about backing up the whole OS. I'm talking about backing up the purchased items.

Feb 1, 2010, 5:58 pm

I'm presuming you're backed up online, much as the Kindle is. Right?

Edited: Feb 1, 2010, 6:10 pm

It does have bluetooth. And there is a supposed to be some kind of shared documents folder that may be accessible from other devices. I don't think we have details yet on how that will work. But there's no information that would lead me to believe that it can automatically back itself up be restored without another computer in the mix, which is what brightcopy is looking for. For that matter, I'm not sure if a Time Capsule can be set up without another computer in the mix, but maybe it can.

Edited to add a very necessary "no" ;-)

Edited: Feb 1, 2010, 6:04 pm

131> That hasn't been the case with the iPhone/iPod, no. Apple has your purchase history, of course. And the rumor is you can call up Apple and they'll be nice and let you re-download your purchases, at least once.

ETA: And I have to believe if such a feature was in there, it would have been trumpeted as part of the presentation. It's a pretty huge feature.

Feb 1, 2010, 6:02 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Feb 1, 2010, 6:04 pm

>132 Rob_E:.

I meant, "Do the Time Capsules have BlueTooth?"

From my experience, a Time Capsule is essentially a wireless modem with a 500 GB or 1 TB hard drive. I'm pretty sure you don't NEED a computer to use it, but having a computer helps make it... well.. useful.

(Of course, I've never set up a Time Capsule. Nor do I own anything with an Apple logo on it, other than some t-shirts. This made working for them a bit awkward... Especially when I'd discuss replacing my mobo or power supply, and get blank stares or questions like, "well, why didn't you just buy a new computer?")

Feb 1, 2010, 6:08 pm

>131 timspalding:. timspalding

Apple has their Mobile Me site that supplies on-line backup of some files, I think (I don't really know. I don't use it). I haven't heard anything that would imply that Mobile Me would serve as a back up solution for the iPad. I would expect that the iPad would be backed up just like Apple's iPod line: You sync it to your computer ; your computer makes a backup ; you provide your own solution to backing up the files that now reside on your computer.

But then iBooks is a new animal, so we'll have to wait and see. They may allow on-line access of your eBooks once you've purchased them like Amazon does. But they could just as easily use the same, old, iTunes model: Buy the eBook ; sync to your computer ; eBook is now on your computer and can be synced to other devices. Although of course it remains to be seen whether or not the iBooks will be accessible on any device other than your iPad. I'm anticipating that they will at least allow the books on your iPod, but that has not been announced.

Feb 1, 2010, 6:10 pm

>134 brightcopy:
Okay, that was a typo. It's fixed.

Feb 1, 2010, 6:19 pm

137> Ah, no problem. The frustrating thing is that I really want to like the iPad. Much more so even than the iPod or the iPhone. Even if they addressed my issues, I probably wouldn't want one. But I'd want something close to it that wasn't built with the iTunes lock-in and the dumbed down user interface. And I'd want such a product to recommend to all my tech-inhibited friends and relatives as a replacement computer.

Feb 2, 2010, 11:50 am

Message removed.

Feb 2, 2010, 11:50 am

Message removed.

Apr 4, 2010, 3:57 am

So... any updates from the people who've bought or played with the godPad?

Apr 4, 2010, 9:27 am

Love it.

Apr 4, 2010, 4:25 pm

Well, my Mom has one, but I think that it is kinda' absurd and just plainly a waist of hard earned money. y don't u just get a mp3 player which costs a lot less. I have to admit though, the apple company are really advanced in technology:)

Apr 5, 2010, 12:35 am

My husband got one yesterday, mainly to use as an e-reader, and so far he-s pretty happy with it, though there was a rocky bit when he discovered that the only way to get books into it was by WiFi, which we didn't have. (We do now.)

Apr 5, 2010, 6:11 am

I was torn but then I looked at what the potential release prices (rumoured) were for the UK and it just became a no-no. Ultimately, I *love* my VAIO laptop and this was going to be a really nice 'extra' toy but as it's likely to cost near as much as my laptop for far less functionality and DRM-esque monopoly on Apple sanctioned apps and programs, I think it'll have to wait until I win enough money for really pricey toys (that said, flee's tantalising screen-shots have sent me toddling off to buy a lottery ticket ...)

Apr 5, 2010, 10:05 am

145: Keep in mind that these are the first models, so prices will come down over time.

Also, for functionality,

Kindle/Nook -} iPad -} netbook -} laptop

Apr 5, 2010, 10:14 am

143: "y don't u just get a mp3 player which costs a lot less."

I don't know. Maybe because an mp3 player doesn't have the same functionality as an iPad? That seems like a pretty good reason.

(Disclaimer: I don't have one, and probably won't be getting one anytime soon, but to say it's the same thing as an mp3 player seems nonsensical.)

Apr 5, 2010, 7:54 pm

I wasn't excited about the iPad, so it naturally exceeded expectations. You can preview the first 20 or so pages--10 of which are the copyright info and table of contents. It has an eye catching display suspiciously similar to shelfari display. The books vary from public domain free copies to publishers experimenting with $10.99 & $11.99 price points.

The screen is as shiny and hard on the eyes as I expected, though there are brightness controls. It's still too large to be considered portable, and the selection is still very small.

I still intend on buying a sony reader & buying books from IndieBound or Powells.

And Tim? LibraryThing does look great on it!

146: I think the price drop is supposed to happen over the summer.

Apr 7, 2010, 1:11 am

ConceptDawg is a convert.

Apr 7, 2010, 7:32 am

I still don't understand the point. An expensive e-reader? Or if it's meant to be a substitute for a netbook, I find it sort of creepy because of how much control Apple has over everything.

Apr 7, 2010, 9:05 am

149: Any details?

Apr 7, 2010, 9:12 am

Creepy? Is the iPod touch creepy too?

Apr 7, 2010, 9:22 am

I've got an iTouch and I love it, but I do find the Mothership's control over content worrying, or if you like, creepy.

Apr 7, 2010, 9:31 am

It's an oversized iPod Touch. Fair enough, at the right pricepoint I'll get one, because I think smartphones are too small and netbooks are either too large or have too small screens, so this is a product for me, for bringing on journeys and when commuting.

But it's not a fully-fledged computer and it doesn't replace either smartphones or netbooks/laptops. As for Apple's control of content, it's not exactly creepy but yes, it's problematic. But on the other hand, it also means that this product family (iPhone, iPod, iPad) will never grow so large as to dominate the market, because too many of us aren't content with being just consumers of what Apple think we should use.

Apr 7, 2010, 10:26 am

See, I *hate* netbooks ... don't see the point. Rather get a laptop. I'm excited about the iPad because it's a different interface than a laptop so brings something to the party that netbooks don't for me. They're just sub-useful laptops for me. It really is the price that'll be a killer though so I'm waiting for the drop. Rumour has it, it's not going to be that far off the dollar price but just in pounds (although who knows because it depends which rumour you read ... waiting for the launch). I'm not really an early-adopter though - tend to wait until the later versions launch. That said, I want it as an internet interface - not sure about the ebooks yet, although there's a chance I could be converted if it means that I can read in bed without needing a light on ...

Apr 7, 2010, 10:37 am

I've been rather disappointed in the news coverage. They've often covered the angle of "this is a great computer for people who can't figure out how to use a computer", but then they never complete that thinking by bringing up the fact that the iPad is useless without one of those hard-to-use computers for it to latch onto.

Apr 7, 2010, 10:58 am

the iPad is useless without one of those hard-to-use computers for it to latch onto

Is it? I haven't read the specs yet, but if I get a 3G version, can't I use it for web surfing, blogging and twittering, which is what I'd want it for? If you don't need to transfer files, which is hardly the point with this gizmo, why do I need another computer?

Apr 7, 2010, 11:36 am

If its like other Apple gizmos, you have to do everything through iTunes, which includes back ups and software updates (for the system); you can get updates for your apps on-line. You need to download iTunes to your computer and set up an account, don't think you can just do it on-line.

Edited: Apr 7, 2010, 11:39 am

157> Yes. You have to activate it using iTunes on a computer before you can. No different from the iPhones. I've heard you can get the people at the Apple store to do it for you. Of course then, you're flying without a net (no backup). And you can't do OS updates over-the-air, at least if it follows the iPhone model which so far seems to be the case. And tethering it to a computer is (AFAIK) the only way to do certain things like deleting files, fixing mp3 tags, etc. It's fairly easy to buy and add content without being tethered, just hard if not impossible to change it or delete it. That's what I was harping about earlier upthread. I think the iPad is actually a terrific idea, for some people, but only if they don't have to have a regular computer to go along with it. It's also a good idea for other people with a computer, but the requirement does narrows the market down.

ETA: Here's the official section from the manual:

To use iPad, you need:

* A Mac or a PC with a USB 2.0 port and one of the following operating systems:

* Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later

* Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 3 or later

* iTunes 9.1 or later, available at

* An iTunes Store account

* Internet access

Apr 7, 2010, 11:53 am

Some things you can delete on the device itself are podcasts, eBooks, and apps.

Apr 7, 2010, 12:22 pm

160> How bizarre that they let you delete podcasts, but not music! I just don't understand why Apple didn't just write a file browser app. It's not that hard - Windows 1.0 had it!

Apr 7, 2010, 12:36 pm

It sure doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Technically I could use iTunes to make my iPad/touch think that all mp3 files I put on it are podcasts, then I could delete them with the swipe of a finger.

Apr 7, 2010, 1:14 pm

162> As I said in #123, I think they're afraid of cannibalizing their mac desktop and laptop sales, which are no doubt much higher margin. The problem is if they simply convert people who would have otherwise bought a mac desktop/laptop to the iPad, they probably lose money. And I think there are plenty of those people who exist. But I also think they could bring a larger group of people into the market to make up for that. I wouldn't buy an iPad myself, even if it was standalone, but I'd enthusiastically recommend it to my Mom, my siblings, my friends, etc.

Apr 7, 2010, 4:58 pm

Thanks all, that showed how ignorant I was. (I don't have an iPhone/iTouch.)

Apr 7, 2010, 5:16 pm

164> Actually, I think you provided a very good example of what a poor job the media and Apple have done in putting out the facts about the device. All the news/radio segments touch on is how great this magical new device is and how awesome it will be for people so they don't have to mess with computers, but never want to acknowledge the elephant in the room, to the point that a lot of people don't even know the elephant is there.

Apr 8, 2010, 3:48 am

Heck, I even used to work for Apple (in the mid nineties, though). ;)

Apr 8, 2010, 6:34 am

Has anyone tried looking at PDF facsimiles on the Ipad? I've got a stack of DVDs with magazine archives on them, mostly in facsimile form, for which my Bebook is totally useless. It would be nice to have a more comfortable way to read those on the couch or in bed.

I'd imagine that it should be an area where the LED screen and 1GHz processor ought to give it an advantage over ereaders. From experience with the netbook, I know that 1024x768 isn't enough to display a whole A4 page, and scrolling is a real pain when you're looking at multi-column text with illustrations. But I'd guess that touch-screen scrolling and zooming would make that a lot easier. Any practical experience?

I suppose that wide black bezel on the IPad means that they are planning for a version with a bigger screen?

Apr 8, 2010, 2:54 pm

There was the Apple Store yesterday, and there was a vacant iPad. It certainly was easier to use than a Blackberry. It still had its annoyances, and it did not seem to have much on it that I had a need for (I do want sometime to check the Web afoot, but I don't think this will do it well). I will wait at least a couple of generations.

For example, orientation switched itself often when I changed pages. That meant picking up the machine and rotating it, then putting it back down to use it.

For example, although the keyboard is much bigger than a Blackberry Storm keyboard, it still leads to numerous missed keystrokes -- wrong key or no key at all.

I think it probably has play value for new adapters, and if I had a jillion dollars I would probably pick up one of the forthcoming ones.


Apr 9, 2010, 3:38 am

I can't help but imagine carrying around an iPad as I added the books from my dusty basement to my Library Thing account. That sounds so much cooler than using a laptop. I would truly be a librarian from the 21st century!

Apr 14, 2010, 4:02 pm

169> Yes, I've often wished I could attach a scanner, CueCat or otherwise, to my iPod Touch for that reason.

167> I'm pretty sure that wide margin around the edge is to give a place to hold the iPad without touching the actual screen. If the screen came all the way out to the edge, you'd be forever accidentally navigating around pages or activating icons/links just by picking it up. I don't think it's indicative of a forthcoming larger screen.

It does require a computer. I haven't heard any reporting that implied otherwise, but I could have easily missed that because, having an iPod Touch, which is very similar, I never considered that it might be usable without a computer. That said, the ease-of-use is not negated by its reliance on a computer. It does create problems for people who do not own a computer but would like to own an iPad, but that seems like it's not a majority of people.

I've only played with one for a short time, but I hope to have one shortly after the 3G model comes out. First impression was that surfing the web was more pleasant than doing the same thing on my laptop. Reading a book looked much better than using my iPod, and I've never enjoyed trying to read a book on any computer. If I was interested in nothing but text, I might favour the Kindle, but the color screen and all the other applications provide so much more types of content. I expect this to become my default eBook reader and web surfing device before too long.

While I haven't read a whole book on the iPad yet, I've read several on my iPod Touch, and I can already tell the iPad will be a much better reading experience.

Apr 14, 2010, 6:14 pm

170> That said, the ease-of-use is not negated by its reliance on a computer. It does create problems for people who do not own a computer but would like to own an iPad, but that seems like it's not a majority of people.

I think maybe your missing the point of why I (and others) think it shouldn't need a computer. It's not about making it easier to use. And it's not because the majority of people don't have a computer. It's about replacing that computer. This $500+ iPad could have supplanted that computer and it's future upgrades. I could have told my mother and/or brother to get one of these to replace his ancient Windows98 box. I could tell my friend to get one instead of eventually buying a new laptop (which, incidentally, was also $500+) which he only uses for iTunes and web browsing. Added bonus would be if the iPad could serve as the mothership for iPhones/iPods.

I think Apple is too afraid that such a world would come at too much of an expensive to their lucratively marked up desktops, laptops and monitors. We'll see if the Slate and other similar devices manage to take advantage of the opportunity that Apple is letting slip by. It's a shame, though, as the dumbed-down interface and lack of features (aka More Ways for Something To Break) would make it much more suitable as a primary machine for the non-techies.

Apr 15, 2010, 3:58 pm

>171 brightcopy: I understand that for a lot of people it would be nice if it didn't require a computer. It might be nice if something would come along that would fill that niche, a tablet-style computer replacement. In reality there are tablet-style computers. They don't make great computer replacements for people because they don't seem to be as functional.

Some of the same features that people wish the iPad had, features that would make it an acceptable computer replacement, are features that would increase the complexity of the device. I would love some file navigation, and the ability to do some iTunes tag editing, and many of the other "missing" features. But adding them in means simplicity goes down. All of the sudden the device that's not quite full featured enough to be a computer replacement becomes too complicated for the non-computer-literate to use.

But that's not to say Apple won't get there. I don't think that they're keeping the device tethered to avoid cannibalizing their other device sales. I think they're keeping it tethered for simplicity. If they can create a full-fledged tablet computer, and they think it will sell, then perhaps one will come along. But if you're talking about someone replacing their aging Windows98 box with something in the $500 range, that's a market Apple has never gone after. They don't seem to want to make the power/usability compromises that would let them sell a full-fledged machine that cheaply. However, if you really want to use an iPad for your daily computing needs, all you really need is a device that runs iTunes. That Windows 98 box might not cut it, but probably a $200 netbook would. Not ideal, I know, to tack $200 on to the purchase price. It's a lot extra to spend just to meet the external management requirements of the iPad, but it still comes in cheaper than just about any full-fledged Apple computer.

There is certainly an interest in a budget Apple computer (look up "hackintosh"), but that's certainly not how Apple envisioned the iPad. There's an idea that you could make it almost work as one, but it wouldn't be pleasant computer to use. Not for most of us, anyway. There are still plenty of things an iPad doesn't do well, not just because Apple didn't build those functions in, but because they wouldn't be practical on an iPad. It really is just a big iPod Touch. That's been said as a slam against the iPad by some, but for me, there's a lot that I would love to use my iPod Touch for, but it's size and processor just make it a bad match for some tasks, so a giant iPod Touch sounds just about right for me. But I've never once thought that my iPod Touch was close to being something that could replace my desktop, so I guess that helped keep my expectations in check with the iPad.

Apr 15, 2010, 4:15 pm

172> I hear where you're coming from and don't really disagree on most of it. We're really "arguing" to completely different arguments.

But as far as adding features in like file management and mp3 tag editing removing the iPad's simplicity, I have two points. First of all, I think those things could be fairly easily done such that they didn't make the user interface more complex. They'd make it less bare, no doubt. Because right now it has "simplicity" in the same way as a car without air conditioning has "simplicity." However, even in a car with air conditioning, you can have just as much simplicity if you don't ever turn on the air conditioning. In the same way, the iPad would be just as simple with a file browser if you didn't ever use the file browser.

The thing is, you're looking at the simplicity of the iPad as just the function it allows you to do. I think it's more useful to look at the simplicity of the entire iPad experience. Right now, some of that iPad experience is required to be performed on your own PC. So you have to factor how simple it is to use your PC to do those functions into the overall iPad simplicity. When you do that, you realize just how much the simplicity turns into complexity. More complexity than if you had an iPad that did all those things internally.

Apr 15, 2010, 7:54 pm

>173 brightcopy: I'm not sure I agree. Plus it's just fun to argue. ;-)

If you assume the iPad is going to tethered to another computer, then you assume that the other computer can be used for: backup, extra storage, and all manner of file manipulation that a regular computer is more suited for.

If you assume the iPad is a stand-alone device, you have to provide a way to accomplish all of these things on the device itself. The device itself rapidly becomes more complicated to use.

I can see a desire to have the iPad act as a stand-alone device, but I think that it complicates the device. Sure, you don't have to access your file system, or back up your device, or retag your songs, but that functionality still comes at a price, whether you do it or not.

Personally I would like some navigable file system, and I would like to be able to edit my iTunes files (it's when I'm on a mobile device that I notice mistakes) but I would still want the device tied to another machine. That is easiest for me. And even if the iPad seems like the ultimate computer, my digital life does not fit into the 64GBs that the iPad will allow me.

Granted a lot of this is because I have become very used to the iPod model in which files are swapped and updated every time I connect it to my computer. I'm Apple's ideal customer because I have already bought into their system. Managing your content via iTunes may not be as easy as using an iPad, but as computer programs go, iTunes is not too bad, and it's certainly easier to use it (for me at least) then to try and live withing a 64GB file space.

An iPad-like stand-alone computer would certainly be desireable to some people, but, I suspect, the way it is now has use for even more people because I imagine that more iPad owners than not would still have another computer even if it wasn't required.

So I don't entirely disagree with you because many of the features that you want, I would also like to see. Some of those features may come to be with firmware updates. And I can see the appeal of an iPad-like computer. But the iPad, as it is, and even with the enhancements you suggest, does not strike as a great computer. I feel like it's able to as functional as it is by passing off some of the heavy lifting to a real computer, and I'm fine with that.

Apr 16, 2010, 6:59 am

#173 "However, even in a car with air conditioning, you can have just as much simplicity if you don't ever turn on the air conditioning"

This is wrong though - you still have the buttons and switches etc. Hence it's one more thing for the non-technical to learn to ignore, to forget and click accidently and then get stuck/lost, to delete/rename without realising and then not be able to find again ...

Even if you never intend to use it, just having it there does potentially cause problems.

that said - as it requires hook-up to a computer, a minimal amount of techiness is required by default, so really "simplicity" is a poor argument for not having such features.

Apr 16, 2010, 10:56 am

175> I knew someone would bring that up. The car analogy isn't perfect (they never are!) In computers, unused functionality can be hidden MUCH better.

May 22, 2010, 10:20 pm

You know, I wasn't all that interested in netbooks. But my wife and I are going on vacation this week and I wanted a cheap internet capable device that I didn't worry about losing too much (crime is a bit of a problem on Bonaire). So I picked up a lightly-used Asus Eee PC 1005HA for $175 on craigslist. Same laptop sells for about $250 in Best Buy.

I'm fairly floored, to be honest. I can't see how I got by without this little beauty. It's got a 10 inch, 1024x600 screen and normal sized keyboard keys (only downsides being small up/down arrows and the home/end/pgup/pgdn keys requiring an Fn key combo). I don't find the screen or keyboard limiting in the slightest. I think I would one of the smaller ones.

And even though it's not drastically smaller than a laptop, the size difference really does matter. My work laptop is a beast, a real business oriented HP monolith. I really don't see myself ever taking it to a coffeeshop anymore. I actually plan on leaving this computer in my car at all times.

And I can use Firefox. And load pop in a USB drive or SD card. I can also use SharePod to manage my iPod mini. I can even run my choice of programming environments and easily run my own full-blow windows apps that I create with them. I can use photoshop.

Etc. etc. etc.

Want to hear something funny? I just heard that our boss is going to buy iPads for all the employees as kind of an "let's see if having these makes us come up with any good software ideas." I find myself completely uninterested. So it's not a case of sour grapes. I just don't see how this larger device that can't sit on my lap with the keyboard laying flat and the screen facing me, that can't run anything than Safari or Opera, that can't even run a simple Flash app, how this device could possibly appeal to me.

I guess we'll find out. I'll check back in and post my impressions of it when I have some. But as for now, I really can't believe how much I've went from thinking netbooks were useless for me to being completely enamored with this one. Granted, I got it on the cheap, but I wouldn't feel bad having paid the full $250.

If you'll pardon me, I'm off to play Day of the Tentacle. I figure the best environment to play it is locked in a plane for five hours with no wifi for hints, yes?

May 22, 2010, 10:29 pm

Maniac Mansion > Day of the Tentacle

sent from my iPad

May 22, 2010, 10:33 pm

>177 brightcopy:

I think the fun of the iPad has to do with the lack of features. It's not a netbook. It's not a cut-down productivity device. It's a casual browsing machine--your photos, your email, the web most of all. You don't sit it on your lap so much as lie on a couch and hold it like a book.

May 22, 2010, 10:48 pm

178> Meh. I just played MM about a week ago. I found it had far too many red herrings (the chainsaw, the stairs, the locked medicine cabinet) and too many items that were for specific characters (the film, the developer, the sponge, the darkroom) that it really just became more of an exercise in frustration than was necessary. And that's coming from someone who cut their teeth on the sometimes brain-crushing logic of Zork. I'm finding DoTT much more interesting.

179> And yet, I'm using the netbook for all those things you're talking about. I'm definitely not being productive...

May 22, 2010, 10:50 pm

>179 timspalding: Lying on a couch and holding it like a book while writing emails just doesn't make sense. How are you supposed to type?

I can't believe Apple has managed to convince people that a device that doesn't really do much is a great improvement.

May 22, 2010, 10:55 pm

Lying on a couch and holding it like a book while writing emails just doesn't make sense. How are you supposed to type?

It's not about writing emails, just like it's not about writing news stories. You might conceivably type a short comment on, and you might type a short email, just as you might read a book with a pen in your hand and write notes on the last page. But that's not the typical use of either device.

May 22, 2010, 10:55 pm

>180 brightcopy:
The first thing I do when I get a new device is find a way to put Zork on it.

>181 _Zoe_:
Typing is easy. I'm doing it right now.

As for being an improvement, the iPad suits my needs more than my laptop ever did.

May 22, 2010, 10:57 pm

>183 DaynaRT:

Oh, fleela, I love you. Kill troll with sword.

May 22, 2010, 11:06 pm

>183 DaynaRT: I'll be impressed when you tell me the iPad is the only computer you have.

May 22, 2010, 11:08 pm

Oh, how I loathed that damned thief...

Anyway, I've yet to hear reasoning about the iPad that really doesn't sound like it makes any sense compared to this netbook. As I said, I'll check back in once mine arrives.

May 22, 2010, 11:14 pm

Why would I want it as my only computer? That's not the niche the iPad fills.

May 22, 2010, 11:55 pm

I guess it ultimately comes down to how much money you like to spend on technology. If you're not concerned with efficiency, you can always find some new niche that demands an expensive new device. For me, lying in a slightly different position is not a reason to spend $500-$800 on a device that pretty much duplicates a device I already have.

May 23, 2010, 12:10 am

Oh, certainly. Everything is about price points. I don't have one, but LT has one--Abby is in possession. I wouldn't get one myself because I am happy to lug around a 17" macbook everywhere, and I am such a compulsive doer that not having all the functionality would drive me crazy. I'm not typical.

May 23, 2010, 2:21 am

>188 _Zoe_:
You're determined to overstate a perceived inefficiency. The fact is, different people have different needs. Being disabled, lying in a "slightly" different position is actually a very big deal, and a selling point for me.

May 23, 2010, 3:06 am

I've had mine for a bit over a week now. I bought the base model to evaluate for a few different purposes.

I wanted it as a replacement for all the things I currently use my iphone for around the house (e.g. Compulsively checking email/twitter, casual web browsing such as using google/wikipedia/IMDB to be more annoying in the middle of arguments). I also wanted to see if my wife could used it as a replacement for her aging laptop. I'm also interested in whether I could use it as a laptop substitute myself, so that I can carry a small device around that let's me achieve 95% of the things I might use a laptop for - in the hope that I'll only have to lug a laptop around when I know I'll be sitting down somewhere to do serious work.

So far it's proved to be fantastic for casual browsing, and in conjunction with a service called Instapaper (combined with the instachrome browser extension and Instapaper Pro app on the iPad) it's a revelation - this is the best device I've ever used for general web browsing, or reading longer articles online.

It's great for video, it's great for games, and it's pretty easy to type on if you have a suitable surface to lean it on - for example I'm typing this on it right now, with the iPad sitting on the kitchen bench in landscape orientation, and my speed and accuracy isn't much worse than I'd be on a real keyboard. It's pretty hard to operate one-handed though, if you have nothing to lean it on - the iphone is much better in that regard. Also, it's become clear that I couldn't really do work on this
without an external keyboard - both programming and sysadmin work rely far too much on punctuation for the iPad keyboard (which is optimized for entering text) to be anything but a major annoyance.

So, so far my impressions are mixed. It's a fantastic device for consuming content, and I've already reached the point where I'm choosing to defer long articles online for later, so I can read them on the iPad. I've been trialling it as an ereader with some success (I don't have a kindle, though), and there are some *excellent* interactive kids books available for it (prediction: the iPad is the death of the Leappad). It's great for casual games. It's not, however, a laptop/net book replacement - certainly not for me, and not yet for my wife.

May 23, 2010, 5:17 am

>168 Mr.Durick:

For example, orientation switched itself often when I changed pages. That meant picking up the machine and rotating it, then putting it back down to use it.

I believe there is an orientation lock switch on the iPad to lock it in portrait or landscape mode, no matter which way you turn or tilt it.

May 23, 2010, 9:25 am

>190 DaynaRT: Okay, but you left out a key fact about why the iPad was useful to you. Motorized wheelchairs are useful, even essential, to a small fraction of the population. It doesn't follow that everyone should go out and buy one for fun.

May 23, 2010, 10:13 am

>193 _Zoe_:
Probably because I don't feel the need to justify my acquisition every time the subject of the iPad comes up; something that iPad owners seem to be expected to do, as if they were trying to purchase weapons-grade plutonium.

Simply put, it does what I want it to do and what I expected it to do. I don't use it as an ereader because I don't want or need an ereader. I'm glad it has no Flash capabilities. I often use it as a secondary display while gaming on my desktop. I haven't had to take my arthritis medicine much since I started using it, versus when using a mouse for most of my computering needs. My mom is pleased with hers for many of the same reasons.

Now if only Tim would fix Talk so that copy/paste would work when using Mobile Safari.

May 23, 2010, 11:44 am

>193 _Zoe_:

De gustibus non est disputandum. But when a million people buy and evidently enjoy the product, disputanduming seems particularly pointless.

May 23, 2010, 12:39 pm

I'm going to recant my 'not wanting an iPad' stance. That was before I got an iPhone. It won't replace my laptop but I *love* consuming the web on my iPhone. There's something about the ease of use that just works. I like the pared down nature of this kind of interaction, bundled in with the specificity of apps. It makes for a 'clean' consumption experience & being able to flop & browse is a big thing for me (and it has nothing to do with a physical condition). Also, my nearly 3 year old can work my iPhone with ease, something she can't quite do with the PC.

Now, if I could just have a nice app to do the things I want to on LT, that would be peachy!

May 23, 2010, 12:58 pm

>195 timspalding: "when a million people buy and evidently enjoy the product, disputanduming seems particularly pointless"

Twilight has sold 17 million copies and appears to be generally as well liked by its purchasers as the iPad. Should we therefore stop debating its value, as well?

Edited: May 23, 2010, 1:06 pm

197: No, but it seems like some people (not singling out _Zoe_ as I've seen similar comments in other contexts) are incredulous that anyone would buy one, and push for reasons why.

It's a stable machine with a supply of software and reasonable purpose like any other computer.

In particular, games are easier to obtain than traditional Macintosh games.

May 23, 2010, 1:58 pm

Following on klarusu's insightful comment at 196 (to wit, "I like the pared down nature of this kind of interaction, bundled in with the specificity of apps. It makes for a 'clean' consumption experience ...")

There was an interesting article in the New York Times Magazine today, about the growing use of smartphone apps to create a more-or-less "sanitized for your protection" type of Web browsing experience:

NYT Magazine: The Death of the Open Web

May 23, 2010, 4:05 pm

It's a stable machine with a supply of software and reasonable purpose like any other computer.

I think that sort of attitude is reasonable. But the frenzy over Apple products is sort of disturbing, and anything that's so over-hyped is going to be over-criticized as well in an attempt at balance.

May 23, 2010, 4:13 pm

For balance, I will submit to the jury my intense dislike of Apple desktop/laptop computers. I will never own a Mac.

May 23, 2010, 8:50 pm

194> I'm glad it has no Flash capabilities.

Of course, I've never been in the situation where I've had a device/browser that supports Flash where I couldn't turn it off. It seems bizarre that not having the ability to choose is pitched as a feature, and it's this sort of thing that contributes to others treating fans as if they were extolling the virtues of purchasing weapons grade plutonium. :D

Edited: May 24, 2010, 2:27 am

As a web user, I hate flash. I hate sites that are written in flash: you can't bookmark or email links to pages, you have to download the whole thing instead of a page at a time, you can't search, print, or save the text of a page. I hate splash screens that require flash just to click on the "skip this and get me to the content" link. It is my fervent hope that the existence of a popular platform that doesn't have flash will drive the death of flash, or at least the growth of flash-based sites having non-flash alternatives.

Unfortunately, flash as horrible web experience is just being replaced by native apps. All the complaints that I have about flash are equally true of many iPhone/iPod apps. Why are so many pointless little apps being written that could easily be written as web sites? What's the point of a app that does nothing when you're not connected to the web, and doesn't give you any user experience that couldn't be done with HTML5?

If you have a chance, check out the Marks & Spencer website on a PC and on an iPhone, and then wonder why IMDB wrote an app.

Compare the standard iPhone weather app to the BBC's weather pages. Ok, the weather app lets you swipe sideways to change between locations, but the BBC's presentation is much clearer.

Edited for grammar and to add weather example.

May 24, 2010, 2:56 am

Following on to 201 >

I'll throw this wrinkle: I own a Macbook (and like my Macbook). I own an IPhone (and like my Iphone). I am still baffled by the IPad and its purpose. The only reason I personally could see wanting one is for color e-books, but I'd have to give up an e-ink screen and I'm not sure my eyes could deal with that much backlit reading.

So I don't think I'll be buying an IPad.

But I totally get that for someone else, the IPad might be a great device and serve a great purpose. That's the joy and wonder of a segmented, capitalist market. We all get to choose.

Edited: May 24, 2010, 9:34 am

For balance, I will submit to the jury my intense dislike of Apple desktop/laptop computers. I will never own a Mac.

Thanks; I find this surprisingly comforting.

May 24, 2010, 10:57 am

203> That is the one cogent argument (that a popular platform unable to do flash will promote websites not to use flash) I've heard. And it has happened, in a few cases. But I think that the reality is that most of those websites who didn't realize it was a bad idea to implement your entire website in flash are still pretty oblivious.

The problem is that, for all those crappy websites that had no reason to use flash, you have ones that do. Take Homestar Runner, for example. Flash is the perfect vehicle for their interactive animations. And there's oodles of really good flash games. Take Machinarium, for example.

So I think it's a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I'd much rather be able to do what I do now - decide for myself when flash is appropriate. I run firefox with NoScript turned on, so most of the time I see flash the same way iphone/ipad users do - as a little broken box. But I get to do what they aren't allowed - click on it and make it work if I want to. I'm really not prepared to fork over hundreds of dollars to give up that ability, when the reality is that it's just a power play by the company to maintain their stranglehold on their lucrative app store.

May 29, 2010, 8:15 pm

Well. I've had one for a few days now and overall I'm quite happy. I can really see my laptop going unused. Of course as it was was it was just mostly used in bed as a browser / consumption device (I have a desktop for actual computing).

The lack of flash is coming up more often than I'd like. Mainly with all the video game news sites. Hopefully they will offer html5 video soonish.

Of course I do wish it was more open and so I see myself jumping when I see a quality android option down the road.

May 29, 2010, 11:00 pm

So here are the questions I'd like to have answered in a nutshell, particularly from those who now own the device.

1. What is the user experience like while reading? Can it do the usual functions like change font type, size, colour, backlighting etc.

2. Is scrolling easy? Is there an autoscroll feature that is customizable?

3. Can i bookmark, annotate, view progress percentage, use a find feature to jump to a word or phrase?

4. How is the backlighting on the eyes? Can the brightness be adjusted? Is it easy to read in the dark?

5. Is there a store where I can purchase and download books directly to the Ipad?
Can I transfer books to the IPad from my laptop via USB, or even better, Bluetooth? (esp. important for a non US/UK customer)

6. Is there a wide range of books available for this device? (comparable to the Kindle for instance)? Is there a vast difference in pricing?

7. What format can the IPad read? Does it support documents in other common formats such as plain text html, and pdf for instance?

8. Is the colour display capability really as important to the overall user experience when viewing books and magazines?

9. How lightweight and streamlined is it to carry around and use? Is it good in bed :)? (for reading of course)

10. As an ereader, how does it ultimately compare with the Kindle?

These are the questions that are important to me. If it's a great e-reader device, and it also has additional features I may find useful, then I'm sold. If there are more efficient dedicated devices out there that allow me to enjoy reading, then I'm buying one of those.

I'm really trying to get some clarity on these issues. So any owners/users who can give their succinct opinions on the subject of the IPad's desirability as an e-reader, please fire away.

Edited: May 31, 2010, 8:05 am

ETA clarifications : > in 195 referring to post #193

TS writes,

"De gustibus non est disputandum. But when a million people buy and evidently enjoy the product, disputanduming seems particularly pointless.

On the contrary, it's rather the other way around---

when millions of people buy and evidently enjoy the product, it's strong evidence of the product serving yet another socially pathological impulse with the liklihood of this being in direct proportion to the size of the consuming masses.

and the basis for this view, rather than being pointless, is very important, very much to the point.

For insights into how and why that is, please see chapter ten, "The Technocratic System," in The Waning of Humaneness

Edited: Jun 1, 2010, 3:21 pm

I'll do my best to answer the questions:

1. What is the user experience like while reading? Can it do the usual functions like change font type, size, colour, backlighting etc.
You're equating the iPad with the Kindle, which is a single use device (more or less). On the iPad there are multiple reading apps that do the job of reading "books." In my testing each of them has all of this functionality though.

2. Is scrolling easy? Is there an autoscroll feature that is customizable?
Scrolling is as easy as flitting with your finger. As easy as it is to turn a page on a traditional book.

3. Can i bookmark, annotate, view progress percentage, use a find feature to jump to a word or phrase?
This depends on which app you are using to view the book. I have Kindle and iBooks on my iPad and both allow you to bookmark and view progress percentage. The Kindle app allows you to make notations. I haven't found the same feature in the iBooks app, though it might exist. Barnes & Noble also have and app for their Nook books but I haven't tried it. I've seen screenshots and it offers similar functionality to the above apps though. The iBooks app allows searching. I haven't found that feature in the Kindle app yet, but it seems like a no-brainer so I'm probably just missing it.

4. How is the backlighting on the eyes? Can the brightness be adjusted? Is it easy to read in the dark?
I don't find the backlighting to be a problem. But then again I stare at computer screens for 14 hours a day already. ;)
The overall brightness of the screen can be changed via the system preferences. Each reading app also has a quick button to change the brightness of the screen just while you are in that app. They also offer different display types to ease fatigue: white on black, black on white, and a sepia-toned style that's a little less jarring than the typical white-page display.

5. Is there a store where I can purchase and download books directly to the Ipad?
Yes. But it depends. iBooks (Apple's entry) lets you purchase books directly within the app. The Kindle app makes you use the web browser to purchase the book on Amazon. I think the Nook also does the web-browser route.
Can I transfer books to the IPad from my laptop via USB, or even better, Bluetooth? (esp. important for a non US/UK customer)
This "depends." If it is in a format that iBooks recognizes then, yes. Just drag the epub to iTunes and it will be recognized and synced over just like your music does to an iPod/iPhone. If it is a PDF then it will work too, though you will use a different app to view it.

6. Is there a wide range of books available for this device? (comparable to the Kindle for instance)? Is there a vast difference in pricing? This is not a valid question, since the iPad can, essentially, BE a Kindle. Just open the Kindle app and you have access to your entire Kindle book collection. You can even go back and forth between an iPad, a Kindle, and an iPhone and it will remember what page you are on as you progress.
There is also the iBooks app from Apple. It has some books that Kindle doesn't have but is, in general, a much smaller collection. Both of them are comparable in pricing. $9.99 – $20 or so.

7. What format can the IPad read? Does it support documents in other common formats such as plain text html, and pdf for instance?
You must remember that the iPad isn't an ereader. That's just ONE of the things you can do with it. So, yes, you can open plain text html and PDF. You can browse the web.

8. Is the colour display capability really as important to the overall user experience when viewing books and magazines?
Now you've gone off and mentioned magazines. You see, that's a completely different experience on the iPad. THere isn't a single "magazine reader" app like Kindle or iBooks. So far, most magazines are rolling their own specialized apps. I've got the "Outside Magazine" one just to test out the waters. It's nice, but it's a different feeling from consuming a normal magazine. It's going to take some time before all of these publishing giants figure out what this new medium can and can't be used for. One thing that I really like is the ability to have full-screen, full-resolution for every picture in the magazine/article.

I'll also note that there are newspaper apps for the device. I use the USAToday one quite often and I like it. There is a NYTimes app too but you must pay a monthly subscription and I'm not going to do that.

9. How lightweight and streamlined is it to carry around and use? Is it good in bed :)? (for reading of course)
Feather-weight it is not. But it doesn't way any more than a decent hard-back. It's a little larger so it's more noticeable if you are a male that doesn't carry around a satchel with you. Women that carry purses or bags won't have a problem at all.

10. As an ereader, how does it ultimately compare with the Kindle? I don't own a Kindle but my dad does and I've used his a fair bit.
Since there is a Kindle app on the iPad the feature-set is pretty much the same, although I'd give the nod to the iPad because Kindle is just one of the reading apps available.
But if you are talking hardware then it becomes a little harder to answer because there are three things to keep in mind:
1. The difference between a backlit screen and an e-Ink screen on the Kindle device. It's a personal choice. There are pros and cons of each.
2. The weight of the iPad is more than the Kindle. This is a non-issue for me. They're both below my threshold of caring.
3. Battery life. I don't watch movies on my iPad (I have a dedicated screen for that in my home). My iPad goes 2-3 days between charge sessions. Kindles can go weeks. This is a non-issue for me though as 2-3 days is also well below my threshold for caring.

Jun 1, 2010, 8:27 pm

Well thank you conceptdawg, you really took time to give me comprehensive answers. I have a lot to think about, but after reading your post I'm leaning towards getting the IPad. What I discovered today about the Kindle that I find pretty appalling is that it's no good for reading at night. I'd have to buy a booklight to do that, and the reviews for the most popular booklights are not fully encouraging. I do lots of reading at night on my smartphone, so i'm used to backlighting and find it convenient - not a strain on the eyes at all. I'm shocked that kindle doesn't cater for night reading without the need for an additional lamp. So I'd prefer the IPad for that alone. Plus, you made an important point when you said that the kindle app essentially lets me turn the IPad into a kindle whenever I want. That's pretty important to me.
The main downside I see for the IPAd in my case would be cost, and possibly the weight of the device. Also I'm not sure how big an issue living outside the US/UK would be in terms of accessing content.
Ahh I still have lots more considering to do, 'cause at those prices, I'll have to be pretty sure of what I'm getting before I buy. Your responses help tremendously conceptdawg. This entire thread is terrific as a matter of fact.

Jun 2, 2010, 7:55 pm

211 - turn on the light instead of getting reading light? or move to the living room if whoever is in your room with you doesn't want the light on . . . whatever you would if you were reading a book at night. and if you live outside the us, i am sure there would be problems with getting books for all those because of international copyright issues.

Jun 3, 2010, 7:31 pm

My husband bought his iPad specifically because the e-readers on the market are no good for reading where it's dark, and he's really pleased with it. Although Apple has not positioned the iPad as an e-reader (from their point of view, from what I've heard, that was just a nice throw-away extra), my husband uses it as an e-reader as the main function, and it's just jam that you can play games on it too.

Jun 3, 2010, 7:35 pm

#212 I spend too many evenings settling little people down in the dark not to want a reading light on whatever ereader I get. That's why I'd never buy one of the ereaders with no backlight. As long as my daughter still shares a room with us, that's a big, big selling point for the ipad. Sometimes, I just want to read in bed and the living room won't do.

Edited: Jun 3, 2010, 8:42 pm

lol okay I don't mind stretching out on the sofa to read and I don't use my computer in the dark, not unless I am chained to my desktop and if only I can't use the laptop. I don't really like reading in the dark, but that's just me. But I don't have a little one so . . .

And for the record, the lack of multifunction and flash on the iPad are the major deal breakers for me.

Jun 3, 2010, 11:09 pm

215: Some of the multifunction will be fixed with the release of the new iPod/iPhone OS this fall, but not sure when that will come to the iPad.

Who knows about Flash? Apple has changed their mind about some things, but not others.

Jun 3, 2010, 11:34 pm

Steve Jobs has been pretty adamant about HTML5's being the way to go and Flash's being a dead end. A couple of major on line content providers have, however, decided to stay with Flash for the time being; I don't know whether there's any possibility that they will convince him.


Jun 4, 2010, 12:12 am

217> Unfortunately, now that it looks like all the browsers may be moving to VP8 as the standard for web video, the iPad/iPhone devices may be the main outlier that doesn't use open standards for video.

Of course, all the video in the world still doesn't get you animations. For that, you're left trying to code it in html/javascript, and we know that's always implemented 100% the same in every browser..

Jun 4, 2010, 3:00 am

Now you're over my head.


Jun 4, 2010, 9:39 am

How is HTML5 nonstandard?

Edited: Jun 4, 2010, 9:50 am

220> It's not, who said it was?

Implementations are non-standard. The entire history of different browsers implementing CSS and HTML is full of things that look/work differently in different browsers.

ETA: Oh, unless you're talking about my reference to video. The HTML5 standard isn't finished, and what video format all browsers were required to support has been up in the air due to patent issues. It looks like they'll be going with VP8 (WebM), which isn't what Apple wanted. They wanted it to be H.264, since they (along with Microsoft) get patent royalties for it. So who knows if iPhone/iPad will support it. They may eventually figure out how to, but there's a question about whether those devices are up to it, as they were designed around using H.264.

Jun 4, 2010, 3:42 pm

And now there's apparently a couple ways (from Adobe, and as an open-source project) to translate Flash into HTML5. Not sure at what point they work - it sounds like the Adobe is a programming tool and Smokescreen is a display tool, but I haven't gone into detail on either.

Jun 4, 2010, 4:09 pm

222> Very interesting. Doesn't really solve the apps issue, of course, but it is neat. Apple may find themselves a bit frustrated if it actually works right. Still, they have the benefit of the converted pages requiring an internet connection. Apple has already put the boot down requiring apps to be built from scratch using only tools you get from them on platforms you buy from them.

Edited: Jun 29, 2010, 11:20 am

Just got the iPad in the mail yesterday. As expected, it has its upsides with severe (to me personally) drawbacks.

ETA: Its value would be greatly increased by a good LT app. I would even possibly write said app, if it wasn't for Apple's refusal to let anyone develop for it who isn't using a Mac.

Jun 29, 2010, 11:39 am

The bigger problem is Amazon, not Apple. Amazon won't let anyone have a iPhone/iPad app while using Amazon data.

Jun 29, 2010, 11:49 am

225> These are two different problems. I'm not really sure you can compare them.

In any case, they've got a really good strategy on the Amazon thing with OverCat. I see a path for it no longer being an issue.

Jun 29, 2010, 11:51 am

But you don't need an app from the apple store to access LT on your Touch (probably phone too, but don't have one) ? Just save the URL on your screen.

I downloaded the IBooks reader when I updated my OS to 4G. Bought a couple of books, haven't read them yet.

Apparently though you can't browse for books on your computer in Itunes, have to do it through Ipad, Iphone, or the Touch. Don't mind reading on the little screen but hate book shopping on it. Looks like Amazon will be getting most of my ebook purchases.

Jun 29, 2010, 12:05 pm

227> I think you're missing the point. You don't need an app to access NPR or Accuweather or Twitter or Wikipedia or IMDB or...

See what I mean? All of these sites can be greatly enhanced by a purpose-built app. LT even more so. If nothing else, it'd make for great offline access to your catalog.

Jun 29, 2010, 12:40 pm

Right, you also don't need an app to access LT or your catalog. True you can't do anything with it, but for me its too small to want to be messing with it.

I have an Downloader app that works off-line, and have loaded my books in excel files so I can see them off-line whenever I need to, WIFI or not.

Jun 29, 2010, 1:07 pm

229> Yes, I understand that Ficus. I'm actually somewhat capable at using technology. ;)

All that aside and back to my original point, an LT app could be pretty cool. See #4 in Tim's original post.

Jun 29, 2010, 1:34 pm

No, I don't think an LT app at the expense of Amazon data would be cool. As mentioned in 227 & 229 there are work-arounds.

Now if I could use a stylus on the Touch I might be tempted. But no way I want to do much tiny-typing and I don't have a camera for scanning.

Jun 29, 2010, 1:47 pm

231> What? At the expense of Amazon data? LT is already trying to move away from Amazon data as hard as they can. The worst case scenario is simply that you'd not be able to see the amazon data while using the mobile app, and you'd have to use the regular web app if you wanted to. Anyway, it's already in LT's best interest to figure out a way to ditch the Amazon data as it already limits what they can do on the NON-mobile site, as well.

Jun 29, 2010, 2:06 pm

Another thing I'm realizing about the iPad is that it's pretty hostile to the idea of multiple users. This seemed okay for the iPod touch/iPhone, as it's more of a personal device. But my wife is surfing on this thing. So now I keep seeing her email, her calendar, her music, etc. etc. And I'm certainly not going to want to hand it out to guests so they can dig around in my email and futz with my bookmarks...

Jun 29, 2010, 3:12 pm

The worst case scenario is simply that you'd not be able to see the amazon data while using the mobile app, and you'd have to use the regular web app if you wanted to. Anyway, it's already in LT's best interest to figure out a way to ditch the Amazon data as it already limits what they can do on the NON-mobile site, as well.

No, the scenario is that LT has a iPhone app or access to Amazon data on the website itself. Amazon will block LT access to their data APIs if LT creates a mobile app. Amazon already did that when Delicious Library made an iPhone app.

LT developers all use Macs, so the Apple restriction doesn't matter.

Edited: Jun 29, 2010, 3:57 pm

234> I think you've misread somewhere:

From Tim:
According to Amazon, iPhone applications that use Amazon data are forbidden by their terms of service.

(emphasis mine)

LT developers all use Macs, so the Apple restriction doesn't matter.

Yes, I totally agree. This is why I said they were two completely different issues and that you shouldn't conflate them as you did in your post. If it weren't for the Apple thing, *I* would create an LT iphone/ipad app that omitted any amazon data (I'm pretty sure that's possible, though there may be a couple of places I'd be a bit iffy on).

Edited: Jun 29, 2010, 4:58 pm



I'm beginning to wonder if I'm talking into the void, here.

You realize that that Delicious Library app used the Amazon API to display Amazon data, right?

You stated:
Amazon will block LT access to their data APIs if LT creates a mobile app.

I think this is incorrect. I think the key part is that the app must use Amazon data in order to break the license agreement.

What I'm saying is that LT (or I) could develop an app that would neither use the Amazon API or display any data that came from Amazon!

I'm not sure how much clearer I can be that this. If you disagree, please try to write out what you are saying rather than just posting some link that you think explains everything.

ETA: On a related topic, did you know that LT already has a site intended for use by mobile or handheld devices?

Jun 29, 2010, 5:01 pm

>231 FicusFan: re: stylus

My dad used a Pogo brand stylus with his touch since he had really fat big fingers.

Jun 29, 2010, 5:03 pm

> 238 I had heard there was one or two that worked, but didn't have a name and couldn't find it. Thanks, I will look into it.

Edited: Jun 29, 2010, 5:34 pm

Because the LibraryThing website has Amazon as an import source, LT staff cannot write any iPad/iPhone application for LT.

If LT staff submit such an app to the App store, Amazon will block the LT website from using Amazon as a data source.

And here's a more specific link

"Amazon gave D-M an ultimatum: pull the iPhone app, or lose the API access for the desktop version of Library."

Jun 29, 2010, 6:41 pm

Of course, an iPhone/iPad specific version of the website wouldn't cause any problems with Amazon, and doesn't need a Mac to develop, and doesn't need Apple's approval for distribution...

Do the LibraryThing APIs provide enough info for a third party to write such a site?

Jun 29, 2010, 6:58 pm

Well, according to the language infiniteletters thinks is applicable here:

(e) You will not, without our express prior written approval requested via this link , use any Product Advertising Content on or in connection with any site or application designed or intended for use with a mobile phone or other handheld device.

So making a site intended for mobile use would violate this.

A site like for example.

Which is why I think this language doesn't apply. I think it's possible that LT uses different parts of the API that this applies to. I have asked Tim for a clarification.

Edited: Jun 29, 2010, 7:19 pm

Ouch. That's changed since the last discussion, a few months back.

(Well, it was implied that it was ok here)

Edited: Jun 29, 2010, 7:31 pm

243> Actually, no. That was part of the discussion you linked to. See message 40 and the link therein.

ETA: And the fact that it WAS part of that discussion and yet Tim phrased things as he did (pretty much just saying that if they made a mobile app, they'd have to leave Amazon data out) is why I think infiniteletters is a bit off base. But I suppose it's also possible Tim was wrong about the license agreement and didn't understand the terms.

Jun 30, 2010, 2:24 am

So, Amazon people in appropriate jobs have interpreted the phrase to me--or anyway how they will enforce it. Their interpretation may not have legal force, but I think they'll stick by it.

It is that they prohibit any true app--a compiled app--that uses their data. They allow a website which is adapted for use on mobile browsers.

Jun 30, 2010, 6:03 am

Go for it!

Jun 30, 2010, 10:09 am

245> Thanks for weighing in. So unless I'm misinterpreting, this is how I thought it was way upthread. You can develop an app, as long as it does NOT use amazon data, and they'll leave your website that DOES use amazon data alone.

Furthermore, according to their license, they probably COULD yank away your keys to use the data on your website in the situation, but that's not what they're doing (right now).

Jun 30, 2010, 10:27 am

Tim, could a LT app be created that didn't show Amazon as a source for Add Books? I thought that if it was that easy, it would have been done already. I think that's what brightcopy is talking about. (If that isn't what you meant, brightcopy, can you be more clear on how a LT app could "not use Amazon data"?)

Otherwise, the mere fact that the LT site is using Amazon as a source prevents a iphone app, which is what I was saying originally.

LT for Libraries is different, because the info there is mainly coming from the library itself, not LT.

Jun 30, 2010, 10:30 am

248> It probably not only needs to avoid using Amazon as a source for Add books, but all those books records tagged as having "Data" (under book details) cannot be shown. It's also likely they'll have to avoid pulling covers from amazon in the mobile app.

This is a much less trivial undertaking and would possibly cause more trouble than its worth for them. For me, on the other hand, it's not much trouble once I get past the hurdle of re-cataloging all my book using OverCat and choosing non-amazon covers.

Jun 30, 2010, 11:28 am

249: And that means that a large number of members would be unable to see part of their catalog... which makes the app unusable as a whole.

If Amazon is eliminated as a source, then there could be an app. Agreed on that last part?

Edited: Jun 30, 2010, 11:32 am

250> If Amazon is eliminated as a source, then there could be an app. Agreed on that last part?

Yes, that's what I was trying to tell you all along.
Me in 237: What I'm saying is that LT (or I) could develop an app that would neither use the Amazon API or display any data that came from Amazon!

And that means that a large number of members would be unable to see part of their catalog... which makes the app unusable as a whole.

Ding! And now is it making more sense to you why I said that LT might not build such an app, but *I* would because I can migrate my data to OverCat? And the whole "you must buy a Mac" clause is therefore problematic?

Jul 3, 2010, 10:03 pm

I would be one of the users who would be unable to see most of my catalog, but I think for the chance to have LibraryThing on my iTouch, I would switch over to some source other than Amazon. But I only have a couple hundred books in my catalog. Switching over would only take a couple weeks, I think.

Jan 13, 2011, 10:37 am

On the plus side, it sounds like in iOS 4.3, you'll be able to choose what the orientation/mute on/off switch does. Hopefully you'll have more than those two choices, as I'd really like it to do something else. I can't for the life of me remember what that was right now, though...

And now for the bad news - iOS 4.3 adds new multi-touch gestures: "You can use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen; swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar; and swipe left or right between apps." Rumors are that these will pave the way for the iPad 2 will have no physical Home button.

I'm beginning to think Steve was born Amish.

Edited: Jun 19, 2011, 10:33 am

Looks like Apple has finally got (or decided they were ready for) what I was talking about in #121. Seems one of latest "insanely great" ideas is that your $500 device shouldn't have to be attached to clunky iTunes software on a mothership PC. About time.

Of course, won't do me much good if I can't figure out why iTunes refuses to update iOS on my iPad. Keeps claiming iTunes needs to be updated, even though it's the newest version they have. $#@*&^%#!

Edited: Jan 1, 2013, 11:15 am

No change in amazon's position or possible limited LT app?

Jan 7, 2013, 11:47 am

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Edited: Jan 7, 2013, 12:10 pm

>256 Collectorator: I am happier reading on my Kindle than my iPad mainly because I prefer not to have a backlit screen (unless I want to read in the dark). There is also the advantage of a much longer battery life on the Kindle. Of course the cover display and pictures are much better on the iPad's colour screen and I do like turning the pages on the touch screen.

On more plus point for the Kindle is the free 3G connection. Admittedly it's not a whole lot of use for anything other than connecting to the Amazon store but it facilitates getting newspapers and new books when away from WiFi.

I haven't tried the new Kindle Fire which provides colour and a touch screen.

My advice would be buy an iPad if you want an iPad for it's other functionality, otherwise save the difference, buy a Kindle and spend the savings on e-books.

Jan 7, 2013, 12:10 pm

For readability, I like the Kindle over the iPad. One of the problems is the iPad is like a computer monitor or tv. It is a light that shines in your face, with the text part blocking that light. But you're still basically staring at a monitor. On the other hand, the Kindle (other than the Kindle Fire) and the Nook (other than the Nook Color) use something called "e-ink". I'll skip the details and just say it's kind of like a printed book that can magically change the text on the page. But it doesn't have a bright backlight and therefore it's much more like reading a printed page. And now they even have ones with a "glow" feature that get around the annoying drawback of not being able to read in the dark.

Some people don't mind the backlight and are happy to read on an iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, etc. I'm not one of those people. Plus, the Kindle/Nook is SO much lighter. It's a featherweight paperback sized (but not thick) device.

The one caveat for you might be illustrations. If you read books with lots of illustrations, those don't come across nearly so well on the Kindle/Nook. But if you're just reading text, I recommend them.

The best thing you could do is find a store and play with them. The only retailer that now carries Kindle is (I think) Best Buy.

Also, there's a chance B&N may go bust soon, so take that into consideration when pondering the Nook.

Jan 7, 2013, 12:21 pm

It is, of course, possible to adjust the background color and text color on an iPad so that if you are reading in a dark room, or simply don't like having a glaring white background, you can change it to a more sepia tone or to a black background with white text (useful in a dark room or car). Overall, though, I do agree that an e-ink reader such as Kindle, Nook, or Kobo is easier on the eyes if all you want to do is read.

However, in your original post, you mentioned wanting to look at your LT library while you are in the bookstore. You can't do that with an e-ink reader (I know Kindle has a 3G connection but it is so painfully slow I cannot imagine you would find it satisfying). An iPad could connect to the store's WiFi connection if it has one. Or, if you choose an iPad with a data plan from Verizon or AT&T (for an extra monthly fee, of course) you would be connected to the Internet and thus LT all the time.

I hope this helps.

Jan 7, 2013, 12:32 pm

I find that even with the screen showing a completely black screen (but still on), there's still quite significant light bleed-through. This is the nature of LCD screens. I can light up a dark room with a "black" iPad screen.

And that's a good point, rosalita. The Kindle/Nook (other than the Fire/Color) aren't going to be very useful for web browsing. They have web browsers, but they're pretty terrible.

Jan 7, 2013, 12:43 pm

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Jan 7, 2013, 12:48 pm

Yes, I use LT on my iPad all the time. The difference between that and a smartphone screen is night and day. And you can pinch to zoom in if you need to. I think you'd be very satisfied with browsing your catalog at the store to avoid those double (sometimes triple for me!) purchases.

Jan 7, 2013, 12:52 pm

I also use LT on my Ipad without any problems. I wouldn't dream of doing it on a small phone screen.

Jan 7, 2013, 1:13 pm

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Jan 7, 2013, 1:32 pm

You're welcome!

Jan 7, 2013, 1:39 pm

A tablet (Android or iPad) has the benefit of offering free apps to let you read the various ebook formats such as Nook and Kindle. If you get either of the latter devices, you are "locked in" to their file format and the changing policies. Some books you want will be available in both major formats but some may be available in only one. There's a good chance it will not be your device's format. With the tablets and apps, you are able to add books on which ever format works and is best priced.

I use my iPhone (4S) to read some PDF and Kindle books. This allows me to read items wherever I may be. There are often times when one is obliged to wait for food or standing in line and it is nice to be able to use this idle time reading.

I have used the iPhone to view the regular LT site as well as their /m site. The small screen size makes it tricky to resize the regular site without accidentally clicking on a link and going to another page (with the delay associated based on the network connection speed and the size of the HTML).

There is an app for the iPhone which also works for the iPad. It is called "LT Catalog" (99¢) and was made by an LT member. At present, the main functions of the app are:

1) Allow you to export your LT catalog and view it (title order) and search it on the iOS device.

2) Allow you to scan barcodes and send them to yourself for use with LT's bulk import.

The app will likely improve over time with new features. For example, an author sort of the list is likely in the future.

Since you could use this app on an iPhone, iTouch, or iPad, you could use it in a bookstore. You would not need to have an Internet connection, WiFi, 4G, etc. It may be easier than visiting the LT web pages.

Obviously you need to perform regular exports of the catalog if you add books ofte so that your pocket list is as current as possible.


Jan 8, 2013, 9:00 pm

Here I am! I am Collectorator, but now I am Collectoreader!
I am loving this iPad. My sister told me about ways to get ebooks from the library which I will do tomorrow. I already have a few on my wishlist.

Jan 8, 2013, 9:03 pm

Woo-hoo! You go, girl!

Library e-books are wonderful. Last year well more than half of the 154 books I read were e-books from the library.

Jan 9, 2013, 10:42 am

Congrats on the iPad! Let me know if you have any questions.

Jan 9, 2013, 10:39 pm

Congratulations, Collectoreader! Enjoy! My husband got an iPad to use as an eReader, and liked it very much; hands down it can handle more formats than any other machine out there. The only downside was the weight, since he has arthritis in his hands.

Jun 21, 2013, 5:22 pm

I found this: iLessons iLearned: Retrospective for Offline LibraryThing Book Catalog Browser and I am anxous if ever this app iit's released.

Jun 21, 2013, 5:28 pm

Yeah, it's been available since last November here:

Jouni posts about it in this thread:

Jun 26, 2013, 8:04 am

thanks brightcopy!

Edited: Jun 26, 2013, 12:11 pm

Does anyone have an opinion about the iPad vs. the iPadmini for reading? I have a kindle keyboard, which I love, but when it goes (or before), I will have to decide whether to stay with e-ink or go to a color tablet. I have been a rabid Mac fan from the '80s, so no shame here about selecting the Apple product over Amazon's even if it's more expensive. I like the small size (and weight) of my kindle but magazines might be better on the larger screen. I also like the battery life of the kindle, but I guess I could give that up too.

Just wondering, not really ready to purchase.

Jun 26, 2013, 5:29 pm

In the family we have an iPad, iPad mini and Kindle (standard keyboard model). I find that reading is better on the smaller devices but which one? The pictures are better on the iPad mini and I like the touch screen to turn pages. You can also read in poor light. However the long battery life and free 3G for downloading new books are very good points for the Kindle. I think the Kindle experience is nearer to reading a printed book so I think it has the edge. I would like to be able to swipe the pages across, though.

Jun 26, 2013, 5:31 pm

They now have the Kindle Paperwhite and the Nook GlowWork. They're the best of both worlds in that they're the super-readable e-ink but they also have a glow feature that can be switched on to read in the dark.

Jun 26, 2013, 9:09 pm

Yeah, I have been looking at the Paperwhite and it seems very nice. My only problem is that they have decreased the storage from 4 GB to 2 GB. I know - I shouldn't need to keep everything on my kindle. I just want to anyway. Actually I like my page turn buttons - 2 on either side - but I could get used to the touch screen.

Jun 27, 2013, 5:11 pm

#276 by brightcopy> And the Kobo Glo, just put in a plug for my brand of e-reader which I adore.

I also have an iPad2 and find I do most of my reading on the Kobo. I stare at a computer screen all day at work, and I find the e-ink screen of the Kobo to create less eyestrain — less even than a print book, as I discovered this weekend when I read an old mass market paperback with tiny, tiny type.

Jun 27, 2013, 5:14 pm

278 > less even than a print book, as I discovered this weekend when I read an old mass market paperback with tiny, tiny type.

Which is why I have reading glasses in different strengths stashed all over the house...

Jun 27, 2013, 9:10 pm

#279 by PhaedraB> Smart move, Phaedra! I already wear bifocals and I felt like one of those head-bobbing bird toys trying to figure out which part of my glasses made it easiest to see the teensy print. Answer: None, particularly. I finally just took my glasses off altogether and it was better.

Jun 27, 2013, 9:17 pm

280 > I have trifocals and none of the focal lengths work with my laptop. I use an old pair of readers instead. But for the desktop, I do best with no glasses at all. The eye doc said my lousy eyes are optimized for that one distance--the desktop monitor.