10 May

iPad as a reading medium

The Unofficial Apple Weblog considers the iPad vs other reading experiences and decides:

When I read the paperback on the tube, not once did I worry about hanging on to my paperback for dear life. A $7 paperback book is a pretty low target for a thief. A $500 iPad out in the open on a crowed train, on the other hand, is prime theft material. The reading experience goes down dramatically when you need to keep an eye on the people walking past you. Think I’m being paranoid? The New York Times reported in April that smartphone theft increased 70% year over year in Boston and 65% year over year in Washington DC. Those aren’t pickpocket thefts either — they’re snatched-out-of-your-hands thefts. The iPad is a larger and easier-to-snatch device than a small smartphone, especially when you’re reading it on a crowded city train, and the constant awareness that you must keep an eye out for potential theft detracts from the reading experience.

Everyone’s been asking me about my own experience. I’ve had my iPad around for a little over a week. My impressions are pretty much the same as after the hour I spent initially playing around with it.

Most of the reasons people prefer a paperback (it’s more portable) are points I apply toward my iPhone. Whoever said a paperback can be ‘put in a pocket’ must be wearing some crazy baggy jeans. Because I find it hard as fuck to stick a paperback in any of my pockets except my winter jackets. I don’t walk around with paperbacks in my pockets like a lot of people seem to suggest you can do with a paperback, but can’t with an iPad.

Dumbest comparison yet.

But as I mentioned in my first impressions post, I see the iPad as being most amazing for comics and magazines. And that’s just what I hit mine up with for the most. I have 6 subscriptions that I have now moved over to the iPad. I was just held up at the bank this morning, and spent time reading Popular Mechanics. The only magazine I can’t get is Consumer Reports.

In addition, I’m catching up on some episodes of The Walking Dead, I fell behind on reading. I’m also picking up where I left off reading Wolverine when I left for college.

Most surprising to me is that I’m instinctively moving a lot of internet browsing and rss reading off my laptop onto my iPad. It offers a much more comfortable way to read, and reading long articles and blog posts feels relaxing, and not something I want to scroll through as quickly as I can. Interesting items get copied into one of my notes applications for sync across all my devices. As a result, some integration between blogging apps and browsing/rss reading will be nice. In one week I’m rarely doing any browsing on my laptop.

As for eBooks and reading. My iPhone is still my go to reader, as I’ve predicted. It’s palm sized, light, and it’s always with me. But I’ve already comfortably read two books on the iPad (Daniel Pink’s Driven, and A Memoir of Sherlock Holmes), which was more use than I expected. I really like the landscape iBooks reading mode. I’m thinking I will probably read more books on the iPad than I expected.

Given that, right now Kindle.app will make more sense for use, as I can switch between my iPhone and iPad and Amazon’s whispersync marks where I was last reading and lets me continue. Convenient. Hopefully iBooks, when it comes out for the iPhone, will allow similar behavior.

I have an all day travel trip from Detroit to Barbados at the end of the month. Normally that’s a torturous trip. I’m somewhat looking forward to the trip with the iPad, because the crazy awesome battery life will last the whole trip. I’ll work on my laptop until it goes dead, and then know I can entertain myself on the iPad with some books, movies, or games (or even peck away at some work) for the rest of the trip.