Sunday, April 04, 2010

The iPad-first comments

There is a lot to say about the iPad which I have had since it was delivered a few hours ago.  The screen is beautiful.  The operations are quick.  Set up was relatively easy (although I have one comment there).  In short, it is as it was advertised.

Set up - I have a lot of Apple devices - an iPod or two, an iPhone and a couple of computers (laptop and desktop).  There was one problem with the initial set up and it related to how much I wanted to put on this device.   I have 30,000 photos and 10,000 songs on my desktop.  In addition, over the last couple of years, I have accumulated more than 100 applications.  As I see how I will use this device, I am not going to use all those applications.  But I had to go through and deselect all of the ones I did not want to use - sort of a pain but you only have to do it once.

Books -  One of the most talked about new features of the iPad is Books - which is a bookstore.  When you view this on iTunes - it is pretty clunky.  The night before I got my iPad I tried to search for a book and it was a horrible process.  When you get your iPad you get it with a copy of Winnie the Pooh.  But as you use the ap on the device it is elegant.  I had heard about a book on the fast ball (called High Heat) and wanted to read it before the Rivercats start to play.  You can search for books in a number of ways and like the search function on iTunes, you then get a series of suggestions.  You can vary the text color and size and background.  Ordering books is as easy as on the Kindle.

There is one other thing about this which is smart.  The Kindle application has been updated.  I think Amazon was smart on this.  You can port all your Kindle content to the iPad.  It comes with the same features (bookmarks and notes - I have not figured out how to export that content for other uses yet) that you would get on the Kindle.

When this market matures, it is likely that Amazon will continue to be dominant in offering content.  At the same time the cost of books, because of competition between Apple and Amazon, will continue to be reasonable.   As I commented a few weeks ago I think the providers under pressure here will not be Amazon or Apple but the also rans.

One final initial comment.  This device is heavier than a Kindle (1.5 pounds versus 10 ounces).  That may take some getting used to - holding a 1.5 pound book may not be as easy as holding the Kindle - but based on screen resolution, color and text flow I expect a lot of people will enjoy reading on the iPad.  I also expect Amazon will release a new Kindle - perhaps about the time that Apple releases the iPad 2 - which will have a lot of the reading features.  I think there is still a robust market for a more focused device like the Kindle.  

John Dvorak argued in a column today that the iPad would not save the publishers.  I think his general conclusion is both right and wrong.  The publishers who embrace this new medium will do well - those that don't will not.   Dvorak tried to argue that the iPad is not a game changer - from my few hours with it - I think that conclusion is far from certain.

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