Brenda Cooper

The iPad: After Week 1

I’ve had my iPad for a week now, and I promised I’d blog about it.  So here’s blog #1.

In general, I like it a lot.  I love Scrabble (I know – BORING – but I do).  Maybe it’s the writer in me.  The household teenager takes it for Tetris.  Clearly a casual gaming hit.

There is no real newspaper yet.  There’s BBC news which is well-done but not updated as often as I want (doesn’t replace the morning paper).   There’s a tiny version of the NYT, but no full version.  It does give me hope though – the newspaper experience is WAY better than the Kindle if that NYT teaser is any good.  Not that it would be hard to beat the Kindle on newspapers.  There’s no Seattle Times. I’m going to keep getting my physical Seattle Times until I can read a leading decent newspaper on a device I like.  The iPad may deliver, but it doesn’t yet.  You can get a full version of the Wall Street Journal, but I’ve lost interest in that since it went to Murdoch.  Also – the newspaper reading experience has odd flaws.  For example, I can’t re-size text on the NYT app (and I need to – it’s about 6 point type and I need reading glasses), I can do it on BBC News.

I love the feel of using it — it’s nice to get my media on a flat, light device on my lap.   It’s just a whole jump in form factor.  It’s also quite zippy.  Video is phenomenal.   And it’s thin enough to use on an airplane seat.

To some extent, the thing is still a promise waiting to appear, though.  Part of why I bought the first generation is that I love Wired magazine, and they have a great video about their  iPad app.  Unfortunately, the app itself isn’t available.  Note the missing NYT I mentioned – I had expected that to be available, too.

I have been sad that my books aren’t on the kindle (I still am).  But I am pleased that three of them are out on the iPad (Building Harlequin’s Moon, Reading the Wind, and Wings of Creation).  It would be extra handy if the first book in the series were also out, since I have to imagine that would help the sales of books two and three, but that’s hopefully a matter of timing and will get fixed.  The Silver Ship and the Sea is still in print in paper, so I guess I just have to pray it either stays in physical print or someone besides the hackers digitizes it.    The iBooks app is not nearly as good a book buying experience as the Amazon store yet.  It’s not as good as iTunes yet.  For example, the science fiction category only showed about 20 books.  The only way I could find my books was by searching for my name.  This will not do a lot for drive-by book buying for those of us climbing up the mid-list. But I’m still in a better position than I was before iBooks.  To be fair, I have a very long relationship with Amazon and they know what I like even with my eclectic tastes.

The lack of multi-tasking drives me nuts.  Now that Apple has announced 4.0, I bet some of the apps I’m waiting for won’t be out until I can upgrade to the new OS.  Which keeps the iPad in the shiny toy category until then.  It is not a replacement for my iphone or my Windows PC; it’s yet another electronic device to plug in, feed, carry, etc.

Next up:

Actual reading.  I’m already pretty sure it will be a Kindle win here — the Kindle disappears in my hand and I am not reading a machine, I’m reading a story or a novel.  The iPad does not feel that way so far.  But I’m going to read a book on it and see what I think.  I was writing this week, and so I didn’t have time to read a lot.  I did manage to email myself my manuscript and get it into the writing application, Pages.

Actual writing.  All the lagging pieces and parts have finally arrived and I’m going to try to write a story on it start to finish.  I’ll report back on how that goes.

Short summary?  I really can’t tell yet how much I’ll use it.  I actually spend about as much time creating content as consuming it.  The iPad is a content consumption device, at least so far.  But it is lovely.