Monday, April 19, 2010

The iPad and the Curmudgeon, Part II

In a previous post, I admittedly chortled as I wrote how the iPad did not even meet the bar of being an acceptable e-reader, certainly not an acceptable replacement or improvement on the Kindle II. A Mr. D, from EdWoods Review, commented that perhaps I had not been fair in my assessment.
I thought I had but there was some doubt thrown in so this weekend I pooped popped into an Apple store in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh. The Ever Loving Wife, to her credit, persuaded and accompainied me into the shop, delighting, it seems, in my love/hate relationship with the newest Apple contraption.

Just earlier, we had imbibed and eaten at the fine William Penn Tavern where we had a short conversation with the owner/chef/high school lacrosse coach/philosopher of the establishment. Among the homilies he dropped on us was the gem that "..although his wife was worried about his being robbed at the sports bar, he was more afraid of being assaulted by college parents who perused their son/daughter's charge cards and saw all the William Penn tavern charges followed up with no shows at the scheduled May graduation dates."
Sitting and engaged in their Buffalo wings tear-down at a table next to us was a younger couple in full Penguin regalia. A large white box was parked by their sides. A new iMac. After a few sips of my Guiness, I inquired of my barmate as I nodded toward the box, if that was their first Mac.
"No, no we have rooms of them at home." (Rooms? I had not realized that "rooms" was the acceptable grouping word that one should associate with Mac's)
"Did you get a chance to check out the iPad?", I posed, throwing chum out.
"Oh, yeah!", he bit, "Not too impressed..well, impressed, but not enough to buy it yet. I'll wait for the 3rd or 4th version before I plunk down the payola."
Detecting a hard hook, I let out with "And the reader? Did you like the e-reader?"
"Oh, yeah. It was great although the choices are real limited, from what they told me."
" eyestrain?", I strained.
He gave me the once over, trying to figure out why I was giving him the first-degree while he was simply attempting to enjoy himself with wings and beer. "No, no eye strain."
"White wasn't blinding you at all?"
Shrugging, he replied, "Well (the kind of "well" that has the phrase "You *&(&(^ idiot attached to it"), there is that brightness control on the iPad......"
I thanked him and let him return to his conversation with his lunch-mates, a conversation I'm sure I was now a part of as a nod of his head and amused stares from his friends confirmed as such.
(I'm here to help!)

We finished up the grub and brew and descended the stairs to the street below, my curiosity and guilt brewing in a malodorous stew.
Upon crossing the street from the William Penn we entered the Apple emporium filled with a....generous feeling. It was an early Sunday afternoon, the store was not too busy so there was no line to queue up to before getting my sweaty paws on the iPad.    I touched the screen for the books therein.  An empty light wood bookshelf came up and books appeared, covers out, like temptresses offering their wares.  I touched Chuck Klosterman's "Eating the Dinosaur".  Two pages came up.  Bright white.  Searing bright white already burning my corneas!  I mumbled something and a Genius came by, noticed my deep squint and then ran her finger by a muted bar at the top of the iPad's screen and....the pages were all readable and painless.  Why I got the remark from the Delaware Genius that I should "consider RayBan's" when I inquired as to the brightness of the screen was now a mystery.  Reading was a pleasure, as much as if not moreso than a Kindle II (ARGGHHH!).
I next picked "Winnie the Pooh" and the book opened in full color, a notion we Kindlites can only dream of.

Now, let's be clear.   The iPad still does weigh considerably more than the Kindle (24 oz v. 10.2oz) and the larger size makes it a lugging around sort of thing rather than a carrying sort of thing;  I'd have to work on my 'toids or abs or whatever one needs to work on to carry that load.
And...(throwing more kindling on the quibble)...the low end entry price of $499 (and that's w/o the monthly data charge) is steep compared to Kindle II's $259.  (Yes, yes, the iPad does a LOT more than the Kindle and so the price shoudl be higher)
So... while I admit my previous harangue on the brightness was incorrect, I'm still happy residing in Kindleland.
But, I do admit looking over the fence at iPadia with a touch of envy.  I'm hoping that some mix/agreemnt can be reached down the road where all of the books that currently reside on my Kindle can possibly be switched over to an iPad.  Otherwise, I think I'll be Kindleland for quite some time; too much book baggage to leave behind.

N.B.: A VERY interesting New Yorker article by Ken Auletta regarding the Jobs/Bezos iPad/Kindle Battle of the Books showdown is here.  (4/26/10 issue)  Book publishers took a deep breath of relief with Mr. Jobs appearance into the Books arena as it seemed Mr. Bezos' (alleged) plan was to eliminate publishers (not sure how he was goign to incorporate editors w/o including publishers) and go straight to authors.

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i recently played with an iPad out here in montana. While it is a nice device, I would like more before I consider plopping down some cash. I have fallen into the apple trap before - buying new gadgets based on pure excitement for their potential, instead of waiting for them to grow and become more capable. Apple can consider me a potential iPad purchaser when the iPad gets a camera (for video chatting) and a new OS. At this point it is just a massive iPod touch. There needs to be some sort of mobile productivity built in with a clearly defined file management system. Sometimes I think you, the verger, can be curmudgeony when it comes to new devices, but I agree. I don't like reading papers or long articles on a computer. Too much eyestrain for me in the long run.
Thanks for your commentary.
I like to see myself (ATTENTION! ! ! Self-delusion warning) as someone who is open to new ideas and gadgets.
I also like to see myself as being a wily spender of cash.
And then, I also like to see myself as someone who is not duped easily.

Unfortunately, all these see-myselves are thrown into confusion when new things Apple show up. There is much internal conflict, hesitation, and guilt. It's almost too much to bear when Apple comes up with some new bauble as Apple's ability to appeal to the inner child is unreal. I mean, how many times can they make a pact with the Devil? Isn't there soem statute of limitations on these agreements?!
Curses to Apple and Steve Jobs; I love them!??
Hey Tats, you recently pooped into an Apple store? Really? Didn't they cite you for public defecation?
Clever, Kiddo, Clever. Must have been subliminal on my part, already sensing what I'd be saying about the Holy iPad.
You can get all your Kindle books on the iPad using Amazon's iPad Kindle application.
To The Voice:
Sir! Get behind me as you tempt me too much with that Kindle App suggestion.

Any hints as to how the weight can be reduced...aside from a rigorous weight-lifting regimen at my end?
This guy agrees with you, DV. I just finished reading this piece to my wife, and we both thought the device had yet to be invented that could persuade us to make the switch to ebooks. Although I suspect the persuader might not be long in coming.
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